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LONDON (AP) -- The Church of England and Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales are objecting to the British government's proposal to permit gay marriages, asserting that their historic understanding is that marriage is the union of a woman and a man.
Prime Minister David Cameron is backing a proposal to permit civil marriages for gay couples, despite the strong opposition of some lawmakers in his Conservative Party. Gay couples are already allowed to have civil partnerships, with the first such ceremony in 2005.
The churches' responses were released as the traditional marriage group Coalition for Marriage delivered a petition with more than half a million signatures to Cameron's office, opposing the change.
The Muslim Council of Britain has joined the opposition. Its Muslims Defending Marriage Campaign asserts that "our creator, Allah, has elevated this institution and conferred upon it blessings unique to it alone."
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)