A Christian councillor who voted against equal marriage rights for gay couples and was then expelled from Brighton and Hove City Council’s Green group has failed in her bid to overturn the decision.

In September, Christina Summers was kicked out by local party officials after voting against a motion to support government plans to allow gay couples to marry.

The decision to expel was taken in regards to her wider behaviour.

During a Brighton and Hove City Council debate on 19 July, Ms Summers said: “When you touch marriage, you’re touching family, and you’re hitting at the very heart of God, and I have an enormous problem with that”.

She remains a member of the party, but cannot sit with her fellow Green colleagues on the council.

Ms Summers, now an independent who supports civil partnerships but not same-sex marriages, has always insisted the decision was wrong.

She said that by disciplining her, the Green Party was discriminating against Christians – an allegation the party denies.

National Green officials have now upheld the expulsion order.

However, Ms Summers told the BBC that she was consulting with lawyers about further action, saying: “I’m sure you appreciate that this isn’t over.”

She added in a statement through the Christian Legal Centre: “I am terribly disappointed at the appeal panel’s decision, not just for myself but for others who share my views on marriage and on free speech.”