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Church of England rejects opposition to gay marriage, activists happy

London: Gay rights campaigners on Thursday welcomed the Church of England`s rejection of a report calling for continued opposition to same-sex marriage, the media reported.

The report by the House of Bishops called for a "culture of welcome and support" for gay Christians, but stopped short of accepting same-sex unions, the BBC reported.

The House of Bishops voted overwhelmingly (43-1) in favour of the document and its proposals, and the House of Laity -- made up of ordinary members of the church -- backed it by 106 votes to 83.

But to win approval, the report had to win backing in all three houses and the House of Clergy -- made up of vicars, rectors, and priests -- rejected it by 100 votes to 93, with two abstentions.

In effect, this means the Church of England`s ruling body voted not to "take note" of the document.

Bishops will now have to produce a new report on the issue.

The decision was welcomed by LGBT -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender -- rights campaigners.

Peter Tatchell, who has campaigned on the issue over five decades, said: "This vote to, in effect, reject the Bishops` report is a victory for love and equality."

"It is the biggest defeat for the Anglican leadership in many decades. Synod refused to endorse the anti-LGBT exclusion and discrimination enshrined in the Bishops` recommendations."

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