One in 200 UK churchgoers has entered into a formal relationship with someone of the same sex, new research shows.

A survey conducted by Christian Research found that 0.6% of churchgoers are in a civil partnership, slightly more than the number cohabiting.

Christian Today reports the number is “high” considering the widespread hostility to same-sex relationships among the leadership of many Christian churches.

The poll surveyed 1,400 people aged over 16 who were representative of the country’s churchgoing communities.

The proportion in civil partnerships is about half the number of people in the general population who describe themselves as gay.

On Tuesday, Conservative peer Lord Fowler said the government should consider intervening to stop the Church of England sacking gay vicars who marry.

Lord Fowler raised the case in the House of Lords of Jeremy Pemberton, who in June had his licence to preach revoked after marrying his partner.

The Church of England reaffirmed its opposition to equal marriage earlier this summer in response to coverage of PinkNews’ exclusive interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

The Archbishop refused to be drawn on what should happen to gay vicars who enter into same-sex marriages, pointing instead to the Church’s ongoing review of human sexuality and Church disciplines.