11/12/2012 16:47 GMT | Updated 31/01/2013 15:02 GMT

Gay Marriage: Archbishop Of Wales Condemns Plans To Make It Illegal As 'A Step Too Far'

The Archbishop of Wales has told the BBC that plans to make it illegal for the church of Wales to marry same sex couples are a "step too far" and "curtail the church's freedom."

Dr Barry Morgan told BBC Radio Wales that he believed the church should be able to opt in or opt out saying "In my personal opinion it's a great pity it's illegal for us not to even have the possibility to do it."

Condemning the move, he added “It makes these churches seem exclusive and I think that is unfortunate,” according to Wales Online.

barry morgan

Dr Barry Morgan said making gay marriage illegal is a 'step too far'

Culture secretary Maria Miller announced the coalition's response to the consultation on gay marriage in the Commons on Tuesday.

Opponents of gay marriage, including at least 100 Tory MPs, have raised concerns that religious organisations who refuse to conduct same-sex marriages will face legal challenge and be forced to do so by the European Court of Human Rights.

To counter this, Miller made it illegal for the Church of England and Wales to conduct same-sex weddings, which the government believes will prevent any challenge being successful.

Although other religious organisations have the power to opt in or opt out, she said both Welsh and English institutions had specifically stated their opposition to same-sex marriage.

SEE ALSO: Labour To Give Its MPs A Free Vote On Gay Marriage

Dr Barry Morgan told BBC Radio Wales that the measure was a "step too far" as it excluded the future possibility of same-sex marriages.

He added: "There are those of us who think it ought to be a free choice and this increases the hurdles for people to pass," Dr Morgan said.

"It will have to get the legislation changed in parliament and change its canon law - and it might be harder to change the law of the land than canon law."

The Archbishop has spoken out in support of same-sex relationships in the past. in April he used his presidential address to members of the Church in Wales’ governing Body to say: “All life-long committed relationships deserved the welcome, pastoral care and support of the Church."

He added that it was important to "show how the Gospel of Jesus is good news for gay people" and raised concerns that "things could be said in the coming months which I think could seriously damage people pastorally so it is that pastoral issue that I want to address,” reported Wales Online.

He told BBC Radio Wales on Tuesday that the Church of Wales was not offering same-sex marriages but that the church believed in "nurturing family life."