The Bishop of Truro has said he is personally against the idea of gay couples entering into marriages, although he has stressed the importance of maintaining a dialogue about the subject.

The Right Reverend Tim Thornton co-chaired an equal marriage public meeting in the Cornish town of Truro on Friday along with Sarah Newton, the Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth.

Sharon James from the Coalition for Marriage (C4M), the main group campaigning against equal marriage in the UK, took part in the meeting and claimed that marriage was a natural union between a man and a woman.

Luke Tryl from Stonewall spoke of how it was an issue of equality and that gay people should have the choice of getting married or not.

According to the BBC, Bishop Thornton said he was “very moved by people’s personal comments on what is a passionately held and complicated matter”, and that people “have to try and find a way forward”.

However, he said: “I am personally against the idea of same-sex marriage.

“The issue is about trying to understand what this union of two people is about.

“I personally would like to go on trying to understand whether there is a different language we can use that might help in this matter.

“The problem is that it doesn’t meet [some people’s] desires and needs.

“I believe in listening to what people have to say, and then trying to discern what’s the right thing to do.”

Last week, C4M was criticised by Sarah Newton for using a photo of the MP on its publicity leaflets without her permission ahead of the meeting.

The government is due to publish its equal marriage bill for England and Wales by the end of this month.