The Australian Church has entered into the ever increasing debate over gay marriage.

Two bishops have labelled the Australian Capital Territory’s plans to give gay couples marriage rights a step to far and have called for an abandonment of the Civil Partnership Bill.

Anglican Bishop George Browning and Assistant Bishop Trevor Edwards, from Canberra, one of the potentially affected areas, stated support for the federal government and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who has vowed to block laws allowing same sex unions.

The bishops said in a statement, “While the desire to remove discrimination and provide legal protection to same sex relationships is thoroughly commendable, we believe a registration system such as exists in Tasmania would guarantee that objective.”

“We believe this proposal actually threatens and compromises the traditional Christian view of marriage between a man and a woman.”

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope described the bill as “an acceptance of other relationships for same-sex couples and indeed for those opposite sex couples who don’t wish or don’t choose to pursue a marriage under the Marriage Act.”