The Church of England's law and guidance on marriage should be interpreted to provide "maximum freedom" for gay and lesbian people without changing the Church's doctrine of marriage itself, bishops are recommending.
A report from the House of Bishops to be discussed by the Church's General Synod next month upholds the teaching, recognised by canon law, that marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.
But it also concludes that the current advice on pastoral provision for same-sex couples - which allows clergy to provide informal prayers for those marrying or forming a civil partnership - is not clear enough and should be revisited.
It also calls for a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" for lesbian and gay people and those attracted to people of the same sex throughout the Church of England.
The General Synod will discuss the paper in a "Take Note" debate on the afternoon of Wednesday February 15.
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