The Church of England have openly criticised Government proposals for legalising gay marriage by 2015. They have said it would dilute an institution "vastly" important to a healthy society and that it would undermine its status as the state church, if they were forced to conduct church ceremonies as part of the legislation.

The Church says an institution of "vast" benefit to society as a whole is being undermined to meet a political need, and is being deliberately presented as something far more consequential. Gay rights campaigners accused the Church of "scaremongering".

The government's consultation closes on Thursday.

Written and Presented by Ann Salter