The Archbishop of Wales has announced a new study of gay relationships at a meeting of the Church in Wales’ governing body.

Dr Barry Morgan said that the Church’s doctrinal commission will “examine the whole issue of same-sex relationships” and produce a report that will be used to “map out the way ahead for us”.

Earlier, the Church of England reaffirmed its opposition to blessing gay couples, having released a report titled ‘Men and Women in Marriage’.

Last month, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Justin Welby, spoke of the difficultly in balancing the Church of England’s opposition to equal marriage, with the need to provide compassion towards gay Christians.

In December of last year, Dr Morgan said making it illegal for the Church in Wales to offer marriages for gay couples was a “step too far”.

Referring to the government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for England and Wales, the Anglican leader said on Tuesday that the bill provided “protection for clergy in not having to conduct same-sex marriages” but also “a mechanism whereby the Church in Wales could conduct same-sex marriages if, in the future, it decided to do so.”

The Daily Post reports Dr Morgan also suggested that if marriage is ever devolved to the Welsh Government the Church in Wales could lose its special status in law which obliges it to marry parishioners “regardless of their religious affinity”.

Church attendance in Wales has fallen heavily over the past decade.

Figures from 2012 show just 33,869 adults visited a service on an average Sunday.

Wales has a population of just over three million.