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LONDON – The Church of England and Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales formally objected Tuesday to the government’s proposal to permit gay marriages, both asserting that their historic understanding is that marriage is the union of a woman and a man.
Prime Minister David Cameron is backing a proposal to permit civil marriages for gay couples, despite the strong opposition of some lawmakers in his Conservative Party. Gay couples are already allowed to have civil partnerships, with the first such ceremony in 2005.
The churches’ responses were released on the day when the traditional marriage group Coalition for Marriage delivered a petition with more than half a million signatures to Cameron’s office, opposing the change. Thursday is the deadline for public comment, which the government will consider in drafting legislation.