The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has said that it would be "inappropriate" to discuss the fine print of its plans on gay marriage before telling Parliament, after the Church of England attacked the government over the plans.
"As part of our consultation process, and as we finalised our proposals, Government officials met with a number of stakeholders, including the CoE," a spokesman said.
"Clearly, it would have been inappropriate to discuss the fine detail of our proposals prior to them being announced in Parliament.
"But the church made clear to us its wish to see legal provisions which would ensure that their position on not conducting same-sex marriages would continue."
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