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Church of England report on marriage branded a 'disaster'

The Church of England is heading for a crisis if it doesn't change its attitude to gay marriage following the Church's publication of a new document on the issue.

The Church of England has rejected the possibility of offering gay couples public blessings in accordance with their ongoing opposition to gay unions in a new document by the Faith and Order Commission, entitled Men and Women in Marriage, ordered by the House of Bishops in the wake of the government's decision to introduce gay marriage in England and Wales.

The document also restated the Church's position that marriage is between 'a man and a woman' in accordance with biblical scriptures.

The Church's position came only weeks after the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, expressed his admiration for some same-sex relationships.

Church of England spokesman Revd Arun Arora has told Marcus Jones on the News Hour the Church believes marriage remains between a man and a woman:

Gay rights campaigners have described the new report as a 'disaster' claiming it is theologically flawed.

Revd Colin Coward's the Director of gay rights group Changing Attitude England.

He told Marcus Jones on Premier's News Hour that the Church's stance is pushing people away:

However, the Church of England has claimed in the report that it wishes to provide "care, prayer and compassion for those who for whatever reason are unable to receive the gift of marriage in the form that the Church has understood it and continues to uphold".

The Bishop of Coventry Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Chair of the Commission said: "The Church has a long track record in conducting and supporting marriage, drawing from the deep wells of wisdom which inform centuries of shared religious and cultural understandings of marriage. There is a danger in the current debate of picking apart the institution of marriage which is part of the social fabric of human society.

"This report seeks to celebrate all that is good about marriage in its ability to bring together biological difference and the generative power of marriage to bring forth life. It also recognises that there are forms of human relationships which fall short of marriage in the form the God has given us.

"Whilst it is right that priests and church communities continue to seek to provide and devise pastoral care accommodation for those in such situations, the document is clear that public forms of blessing belong to marriage alone."

Canon Chris Sugden is the Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream.

He told Premier's News Hour why he supports the Church's position on the issue:

MPs are due to vote on the coalition's gay marriage plans again in the coming weeks.

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