Cleric warns against gay marriage
Ministers should not overrule the Bible by allowing same-sex marriage and David Cameron would be like a "dictator" if he lets homosexual couples get married, the Archbishop of York has said.
Dr John Sentamu, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, said marriage must remain a union between a man and a woman.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the archbishop said marriage is set in history and the state cannot change it overnight.
He said: "I don't think it is the role of the state to define what marriage is. It is set in tradition and history and you can't just (change it) overnight, no matter how powerful you are. We've seen dictators do it in different contexts and I don't want to redefine very clear social structures that have been in existence for a long time and then overnight the state believes it could go in a particular way.
"It's almost like somebody telling you overnight that the Church, whose job is to worship God (that it will be) an arm of the Armed Forces. They must take arms and fight. You're completely changing tradition."
The Government will open a consultation on the issue in March.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, co-ordinator of the Equal Love campaign, said: "Archbishop Sentamu is a religious authoritarian who wants to impose his personal opposition to same-sex marriage on the rest of society.
"It is not a Christian value to demand legal discrimination against gay couples and to treat them as inferior, second-class citizens - with fewer rights than everyone else.
"The Government is proposing to legalise same-sex civil marriages in register offices. This will not affect churches. The Archbishop has no valid grounds for objecting to civil legislation that will ensure marriage equality for all couples."