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  1. ITV Report

Church of England votes against same-sex marriage report

A controversial report on homosexuality and same-sex marriage praised by the Archbishop of Canterbury as a "road map" has been rejected by the Church of England's General Synod.

The House of Bishops report called for the Church to adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for gay people.

However it urged not to change the Church's opposition to same-sex marriage, advising that the "permanent and lifelong" union should remain "one man with one woman".

Equalities campaigners welcomed the vote result as a rejection of "anti-LGBT exclusion and discrimination enshrined" in the document.

Same-sex couples were among those listening to the discussion at the General Synod. Credit: PA

Archbishop Justin Welby had made a strong plea for the Synod to approve the report as he called for the Church to endorse a "radical new Christian inclusion" during hours of debate at the London assembly.

"I believe passionately that the report worked on, struggled on, not carelessly, not thoughtlessly, gives a basis for moving on. A good basis, a road map," he told more than 400 Church leaders at Church Hall in Westminster ahead of the voting.

While the votes in favour of "taking note" of the report outnumbered those against, church rules meant it failed to carry a symbolic majority.

242
Votes in favour of "taking note" of the report.
184
Votes against "taking note" of the report, including one bishop.
6
Abstentions.

The report needed to gain a clear majority in the House of Bishops, House of Clergy and House of Laity to be endorsed.

The announced vote to reject the report was applauded by many within the Synod. Credit: PA

While some 93 members of the House of Clergy voted in favour, 100 voted against and two abstained.

The debate, which was considered the focal point of this week's Synod, prompted impassioned speeches from members while LBGT activists condemned the report outside.

Activists made their stance known as delegates came out of Church House in London. Credit: PA

Introducing the debate, the Bishop of Norwich, said there had been "very little appetite" for changing the doctrine which he accepted can be "heard as discriminatory".

Graham James added there is "no simple and easy answer" to this issue and said views held were "profoundly contested".

The Archbishop of Canterbury yawned during the afternoon's session of the General Synod. Credit: PA

Speaking after the result, Mr James said the bishops had "listened to those who have spoken" and others "who have made contributions to us directly".

He added: "Our ongoing discussions will be informed by what members of Synod and the wider church have said as a result of this report."

Equalities campaigner Peter Tatchell framed the result as a victory for those calling for same-sex marriage.

This vote to, in effect, reject the Bishops' report is a victory for love and equality.

It is the biggest defeat for the Anglican leadership in many decades.

Synod refused to endorse the anti-LGBT exclusion and discrimination enshrined in the bishops' recommendations.

– Equalities campaigner Peter Tatchell