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Gay Marriage vote: Expect emotion and passion as priorities clash

Activists from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement stand outside the General Synod at Church House in London. Credit: PA

Today is in some ways without consequence.

No policy is being decided today and nothing irrevocable is happening.

But in other ways it is hugely important, once again opening up fault lines in the Church of England.

It is a hideously complex constitutional process, and looking for change in the Church of England is like watching paint dry.

A delegate walks past activists outside the General Synod at Church House in London. Credit: PA

But today's debate about the bishops' report comes down to whether the Church's attitude towards same sex relationships - both in the clergy and in the LGBT community generally - is changing fast enough.

The LGBT community within and outside the church has been angered by the bishops' report.

For them, it doesn’t even start to go far enough.

The tone towards LBGT people may have changed, but essentially they believe that the discrimination against them remains with no proposal for same sex marriage, and not enough acceptance of gay clergy.

Peter Tatchell (second right) joins activists from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement outside the General Synod. Credit: PA

They are encouraging the Synod to reject the bishops' report which would come in the form of a vote 'failing to take note' of it.

Either way, expect emotion and passion as priorities clash.

For some traditionalists here, the teachings that a marriage between a man and a woman is the Christian ideal are sacrosanct and trumps the call for equality.

But for others inside the church it confirms how out of touch the largely male house of bishops has become.

Whatever the result, the issue won't go away.

Change takes a very, very long time at the Church of England. It tends to creep up incrementally on those who are busy discussing how much they are opposed to it.