The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled the end of the church’s resistance to same-sex marriage.

Justin Welby told the Guardian today: “I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it’s the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.”

The Church of England has been increasingly split on issues surrounding same-sex marriage, ever since the Pilling Report last year recommended the adoption of a more conciliatory approach to gay issues.

Despite the recommendations, the House of Bishops declined to fully adopt the changes, refusing to allow formal blessings for same-sex marriages, and forbidding gay clergy from marrying.

Although Welby’s comments do not reflect a change of policy in the church, they show a more accepting stance, and signal acceptance instead of resistance.

Father Andrew Cain is one of several vicars preparing to defy the church’s ban on gay clergy marrying, after same-sex weddings begin this weekend.