Church of England attacks government over gay marriage plans

The Church of England has attacked the government's lack of consultation over its gay marriage plans, saying senior ecclesiastical figures learned of them only when Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced them to Parliament.

Mrs Miller told the House of Commons on Tuesday she was putting in place a "quadruple lock" of measures to guarantee religious organisations would not have to marry same-sex couples against their wishes.

The Guardian has reported that the Right Rev Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester and the Church of England's lead spokesman in the Lords, told a private meeting that there had been a lack of consultation, with the Government not consulting the church on the proposal.

A church spokesman said:

Bishop Tim's point was that there was a meeting due with the Secretary of State that did not take place and the first we heard of the fine detail was when she stood up and announced it," he said.

It would be fair to say the Secretary of State hadn't made contact directly with senior members of the church.

– Church of England spokesman

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Gay marriage plans a 'shambles'

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has described the Government's plans for gay marriage as undemocratic and a "shambles".