The Archbishop of Canterbury says he is “quite uncomfortable” talking about same-sex marriage and is “still thinking my way through” the issue.
In comments to The Sunday Times, Justin Welby warned that bringing in gay marriage would be a “weakening of the glue that holds society together”.
Speaking about the Government’s plans to redefine marriage, he said: “This is a radical change to one of the most fundamental building blocks of society, and that is hugely important.
“A law that changes marriage from being about covenant to being about contract is a weakening of the glue that holds society together.”
The Archbishop also criticised the specifics of the Government’s bill, calling it a “bad piece of legislation”.
He added the Government has “created a new institution that they label as marriage, and then say that it’s equal, only it’s not”.
The Archbishop commented: “You can tell, I’m quite uncomfortable… I’m still thinking my way through this.”
Last week Archbishop Welby was accused of “wobbling” over the Government’s plans to redefine marriage.
He told gay journalist, Iain Dale, that he would be “open to discussions” on how gay marriage could work in a way that is acceptable to the Church.
An editorial in the Daily Mail said: “Before his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby made his views on gay sex and marriage unmistakably plain, whether people agreed with them or not.
“He wrote: ‘Throughout the Bible it is clear that the right place for sex is only within a committed, heterosexual marriage.’
“Compare that forthright statement with his remarks on the subject this week.
“‘The problem with the gay marriage proposals is that they don’t actually include people equally,’ he says, adding that many gay couples’ relationships are ‘an example to plenty of other people’.
“What he meant is anyone’s guess – though some think he was arguing (oddly, for a believer in holy matrimony) that heterosexual couples, too, should be given the right to form civil partnerships.”