The newly elected Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has said that he supports strengthening gay relationships and recognises that the love between people of the same-sex is as “no less” than heterosexual couples.

The archbishop was speaking to Iain Dale, who is in a civil partnership and supports same-sex marriage on LBC 97.3.

Mr Dale asked: “You said once that you’re always averse to the language of exclusion and what we’re called to do is love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us, how do you reconcile that with the church’s attitude on gay marriage?”

The archbishop replied: “I think that the problem with the gay marriage proposals is that they don’t actually include people equally, it’s called equal marriage, but the proposals in the Bill don’t do that. I think that where there is.

“I mean I know plenty of gay couples whose relationships are an example to plenty of other people and that’s something that’s very important, I’m not saying that gay relationships are in some way, you know that the love that there is less than the love there is between straight couples, that would be a completely absurd thing to say.

“I understand why people want that to be strengthened and made more dignified, somehow more honourable in a good way. It’s not the same as marriage.”

Mr Dale then asked if the archbishop would be open to discussions if the Government’s proposals could be made to work in a more acceptable manner to the Church.

Mr Welby replied :”We are always open to discussions, we’ve been open to discussion, we’re discussing at the moment. The historic teaching of the church around the world, and this is where I remember that I’ve got 80 million people round the world who are Anglicans, not just the one million in this country, has been that marriage in the traditional sense is between a man and woman for life.

“It’s such a radical change to change that I think we need to find ways of affirming the value of the love that is in other relationships without taking away from the value of marriage as an institution.”

At the weekend, it was revealed in previously unpublished notes that the archbishop had written that the children of heterosexual couples were likely to be happier than those of same-sex couples. He wrote: “Throughout the bible it is clear that the right place for sex is only within a committed heterosexual marriage.

“Interestingly all recent research also shows that the children of such a relationship are likely (not always but often) to be happier and more stable.”