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Bishops: Gay marriage Bill must be amended

The House of Lords rejected Lord Dear's wrecking amendment by 390 votes to 148 (Photo: PA)

The Catholic Church has urged the House of Lords to make sweeping amendments to the Bill legalising same-sex marriage after peers rejected an attempt to throw the Bill out on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said: “The Church’s principled objection to the legal re-definition of marriage is consistently and clearly set out.

“Following the Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords, the Church’s aim is to ensure the Bill, as it goes to committee stage, is amended so that it effectively delivers the protections that the Government promised to provide for schools, religious organisations and individuals.”

The amendment opposing the Bill was voted down by 390 votes to 148. Lord Dear, a crossbench peer and former West Midlands chief constable, tabled the amendment.

Nine Church of England bishops voted in favour of Lord Dear’s amendment while the five remaining bishops present at the debate abstained.

During the debate which began on Monday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said that the same-sex marriage legislation would create “confusion”.

“Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated, being different and unequal for different categories. The new marriage of the Bill is an awkward shape with same gender and different gender categories scrunched into it, neither fitting well,” he said.