– Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, which campaigns for gay rights
There's manifestly no evidence that the recognition of long-term same-sex relationships has any impact on the institution of marriage for heterosexuals.
It seems odd that the Church of England should be obsessing about a few thousand gay couples once again when there are currently three million children in Britain living in single-parent households.
The Government is seeking to meet what it perceives to be the needs of the gay community.
I would say that the Church of England is sympathetic to those needs, we want to see a society in which gay people are fully included and their needs are fully provided for.
But this does not amount to a basis for introducing a complete redefinition of the concept of marriage based on a consultation process which is at the very least rapid.
– Rt Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester
From a standing start within three months to arrive at a fully considered, weighed and articulated redefinition of a fundamental social institution which has been thought about in one particular way for centuries and which is broadly accepted as a social institution in the same way internationally - to change all that on the basis of a consultation like this seems to be at the very least unwise and ill considered.
The Church of England added that introducing gay marriage could also lead to challenges to civil partnership law, as removing the concept of gender from marriage while leaving it in place for civil partnerships would be unlikely to be "legally sustainable".
In a highly critical response to the Government's consultation on gay marriage which closes on Thursday, the Church of England said several "major elements" of the proposals had not been thought through properly and were not legally "sound".
Gay marriage threatens the establishment of the Church of England and could lead to it being forced out of its role of conducting weddings on behalf of the state, it has claimed.
The Church of England said introducing same-sex marriage would lead to an unprecedented clash between its own canon law - that marriage is between a man and a woman - and that of Parliament.
It also warned that in spite of ministerial assurances that churches would not have to conduct gay marriages, it would be "very doubtful" whether limiting same-sex couples to non-religious ceremonies would withstand a challenge at the European Court of Human Rights.