LONDON (AP) — The government was defeated for a third time in the House of Lords on Monday in its bid to lower the age of consent for homosexuals from 18 to 16.

Lawmakers in the more powerful House of Commons had overwhelmingly approved the plan earlier this year, but the Lords rejected the motion by 205 votes to 144.

The bill, which would bring Britain in line with most other European Union nations, is aimed at curbing prejudice, according to its backers.

The Lords' powers are limited to delaying legislation, by blocking it and bouncing it back to the House of Commons.

The government has already indicated it will resort to the rarely used device of invoking the Parliament Act — created to ensure that the will of the country's elected lawmakers prevails — to force the bill through.

There was no immediate comment from the government after Monday's defeat.

Five years ago, Parliament narrowly rejected lowering the consent age for homosexuals to 16, reducing it instead from 21 to 18. Homosexual sex between adults ceased to be a crime in Britain three decades ago.