The government has heeded warnings that its gay marriage Bill would have been at risk if it stuck to plans to make members of the House of Lords vote on it in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

At least 80 peers are expected to speak in Monday's second reading debate, raising the prospect that any vote could have been delayed until 2am or later.

The Labour Party said it warned the government three weeks ago it risked the Bill being defeated if it scheduled the vote in the early hours and urged it to hold a second day of debate. "They've now seen sense," Labour said.

The vote is now due to take place at the more civilised hour of 5pm on Tuesday.

On Wednesday Labour's shadow equalities minister in the Lords, Baroness Thornton, told HuffPost UK there were a significant number of peers who wanted to support the Bill but would not be "strong enough to stay until 3am in the morning".

However a government source said it was "laughable" to suggest ministers would risk their own Bill being defeated now it is in the Lords.

"The government wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise the equal marriage Bill and its disingenuous to pretend it would. If we need to have the vote in the Lords the next day because second reading is likely to run past peers bedtime’s, then that’s fine," the source said.

The legislation is expected to receive the backing of the Lords in the vote - but Labour was worried the late night vote put this majority at risk as those opposed to gay marriage were more likely to "stay to the bitter end".

Lord Dear, the cross-bench peer who is leading efforts to kill off the bill, told HuffPost UK that while it was the mark of a "civilized society" that minorities be protected, in this case "the minority is so small and the majority is so affronted" that the government should reconsider.

The gay marriage Bill easily passed the House of Commons earlier this month despite the majority of Tory MPs voting against it. Equal marriage campaigners and MPs have urged peers to respect the will of the elected Commons and not try and kill the legislation.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • Netherlands

    The Netherlands was the first country to recognize gay marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2001</a>. <em>Pictured: Jan van Breda and Thijs Timmermans.</em>

  • Belgium

    Belgium legalized same-sex marriages in <a href="" target="_hplink">2003. </a> <em>Pictured: Marion Huibrecht and Christel Verswyvelen.</em>

  • Spain

    Spain legalized gay marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2005</a>.

  • Canada

    Canada followed Spain and approved gay marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2005. </a>

  • South Africa

    South Africa legalized same sex marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2006.</a> <em>Pictured: Vernon Gibbs and Tony Hall. </em>

  • Norway

    Norway followed suit in <a href="" target="_hplink">2009.</a> <em>Norwegian finance minister and chairwoman of the Socialist Left party Kristin Halvorsen (L) stands next to wedding figurines outside the House of Parliament in Oslo on June 11, 2008, where she celebrated the passing of a new law awarding equal rights to same sex partnerships as those enjoyed by heterosexual marriages. (Getty)</em>

  • Sweden

    Sweden recognized same sex marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2009.</a> <em>Pictured: Johan Lundqvist (L) and Alf Karlsson. </em>

  • Portugal

    Portugal recognized gay marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2010.</a> <em>Pictured: Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao. </em>

  • Iceland

    Iceland legalized gay marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2010.</a>

  • Argentina

    Argentina legalized same sex-marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2010.</a> It was the only Latin American country to do so. <em>Pictured: Giorgio Nocentino (L) and Jaime Zapata.</em>

  • New Zealand

    New Zealand<a href="" target="_blank"> became the first</a> Asia-Pacific nation (and the 13th in the world) to legalize same-sex marriage. <em>Pictured: Jills Angus Burney (L) and Deborah Hambly.</em>

  • Denmark

    Denmark became the first country to allow the registration of gay partnerships in 1989. In 2012, Denmark's <a href="" target="_blank">Parliament approved </a>a law allowing same-sex couples to get married in formal church weddings instead of the short blessing ceremonies that the state's Lutheran Church offered.

  • Uruguay

    The Uruguay Parliament lawmakers passed the <a href="" target="_blank">"marriage equality project"</a> in Montevideo, Uruguay,Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

  • U.S.A.

    Same-sex marriage is legal in 13 U.S. states and Washington DC.

  • Brazil

    Some <a href="" target="_blank">parts of Brazil</a> allow same-sex marriage (AL, BA, CE, DF, ES, MS, PR, PI, SE, and SP).

  • Mexico

    Some areas of Mexico allow gay marriage, such <a href="" target="_blank">as Mexico City</a>.

  • France

    France legalized same sex marriage in <a href="" target="_hplink">2013</a>. Pictures: an illustration made with plastic figurines of men is seen in front of the Palais Bourbon, the seat of the French National Assembly. (JOEL SAGET/Getty Images)

  • Britain

    Britain legalized gay marriage on July 17, 2013 after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval. Gay marriages are set to begin in England and Wales in the summer of 2014.