(TELEGRAPH) — In his first major intervention in the debate, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he could not support David Cameron’s same-sex marriage Bill in its current form.

He warned that the reform “weakened” the concept of the “normal” family as the basis for a strong community and replaced traditional marriage with something “less good”.

Archbishop Welby has been reluctant to join the public condemnation of the reforms, despite widespread opposition from Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Muslims and other faith organisations.

The Church of England has previously adopted a more conciliatory position towards the reforms, acknowledging that parliament was likely to pass the Bill and seeking to secure legal protections from ministers to stop churches being forced to conduct gay marriages.

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