The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has affirmed the church’s traditional teaching on sex and marriage.
He also called for an understanding attitude which treats other people with dignity.
Listen to Mike Judge speaking for The Christian Institute on BBC Radio 4
Earlier today he told the BBC: “The Church of England holds very firmly, and continues to hold to the view, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman.”
“At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human, is the essential dignity of the human being. And so we have to be very clear about homophobia.”
In an interview with the Sunday Times at the weekend he said: “My understanding of sexual ethics has been that, regardless of whether it’s gay or straight, sex outside marriage is wrong.”
Archbishop Welby has said the plans to redefine marriage are “radical” and a “weakening of the glue that holds society together”.
He has attacked the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for failing to achieve its stated goal of equality.
The modern approach to equality, he says, fails to acknowledge differences and tries to impose sameness.
But he has also said he is still “thinking my way through” the issue, and would be prepared to discuss how gay marriage could be allowed in a way that would be acceptable to the Church of England.
And he says he is “deeply challenged” by same-sex relationships of “stunning” quality.
Last week the Daily Mail accused him of “wobbling” and called for him to “offer clear and consistent moral guidance to a church and country in desperate need of it.”