Our take: With all of the dispute in the United States about same-sex marriage, the Church of England is taking a stand on the issue.
It says giving civil ceremonies the status of marriage would "alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman".
The Home Office said religious bodies would not have to conduct gay marriages but the Church also fears this could be challenged in European courts.
Gay rights campaigners accuse the Church of "scaremongering".
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