David Cameron should choose “masterful inactivity” over plans to rewrite the definition of marriage, the Archbishop of York has said.
The Government is expected to launch a consultation on redefining marriage later this week.
Dr John Sentamu appeared on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday and urged the Government not to push ahead with the contentious plans.
He said: “I happen to believe that to change the law in the end would be forcing an unjustified change to a nation”.
The Archbishop of York also voiced his support for a pastoral letter by the Roman Catholic Church which urged its followers to resist plans to redefine marriage
The letter, co-signed by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Peter Smith, was read out in 2,500 churches in England and Wales on Sunday.
It said that changing the “the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step”.
During the interview Dr Sentamu, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, also expressed support for civil partnerships.
Last week the former Bishop of Rochester said that preserving marriage as a union between one man and one woman is in the interests of the “wider good of society”.
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali also affirmed the Church’s right to defend marriage, warning that the issue is a matter of significance.
“The Church is not in this to protect its own interest, it is in this discussion for the sake of wider society in this country generally,” he said.
And the Bishop of Oxford warned that the Government would be “playing with fire” if it goes ahead with its contentious plans to redefine marriage.
Rt Revd John Pritchard said: “It is not up to society or the Government to define marriage at will.”