London - The Church of England has objected to the government's proposal to permit gay marriages.
In a document released on Tuesday, the church insisted that its historic understanding of marriage is that it is a union of a man and a woman.
The church argued that gay couples already can enjoy many of the legal benefits of marriage through civil partnerships, which were introduced in 2005.
About a fourth of weddings in England take place in Church of England churches, which are legally obligated to provide a marriage service for any resident of a local parish, regardless of church membership.
Prime Minister David Cameron is backing the proposal for gay marriages, despite the strong opposition of some lawmakers in his Conservative Party. - Sapa-AP