The Church of England clergy have taken a positive step towards gay marriage after they rejected a report which said that only a man and woman could marry in church.
The House of Bishops document was presented to the General Synod at meeting in London. It asked the Church to adopt a "fresh tone and culture of welcome and support" towards gay people, while continuing to oppose same-sex unions, the BBC reports.
Over 400 Church leaders came to Church Hall in Westminster to take part in a 'take note' debate on the matter, where they voted to reject the recommendations. Although there was an overall majority in favour of the report, it needed the support of all three houses - the bishops, clergy and laity. The clergy voted against, by 100 votes to 93, which means the Church of England's ruling body chose not to "take note" of the document. The views expressed by the clergy will be used to inform future work by the House of Bishops, who will now have to produce a new report on the issue.
Currently, gay clergy are banned from marrying or having sexual relationships, and same-sex marriage services are prohibited in churches. After years of campaigning to change this, the news of the vote has been welcomed by the LGBT community. Campaigner Peter Tatchell, 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."
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who was in favour of the report, called for a "radical new Christian inclusion".
He added: "The current report is not the end of the story. We will - as the bishops - think again and go on thinking. We will seek to do better."