The Australian Anglican Church has published a guidebook for campaigning against equal marriage.

The document, titled ‘What Has God Joined Together’, was distributed to members of the Synod this week amid national discussions on equal marriage.

The booklet claims that same-sex marriage is “the greatest threat to religious freedom we will ever have seen in Australia”.

It adds: “Same-sex marriage may well function as the breach in the wall that allows the flood of the equality movement into many new areas.

“The potential for serious threats to churches, schools, Christian organisations and people of faith is real and urgent. “

In a section on the “consequences” of marriage, the booklet claims that gay couples will “enslave women’s bodies” if the law passes

It says: “There are some obvious consequences of changing the marriage laws, especially when it comes to children. For male same-sex couples, one of the main options for children is surrogacy.

Noting “a growing commercial surrogacy market in developing countries”, it continues to claim: “The potential for pay-for-baby arrangements has implications for the objectification and enslaving of women’s bodies.

“We have to ask if it is fair on the child who will never know both of his or her biological parents.”

Another section rallies further against same-sex parents, claiming: “A same-sex couple cannot have a child without involving an external party (like a sperm donor or surrogate mother).

“Typically this child is systematically denied the right to be raised by one of their birth parents.”

Plans for a public vote on equal marriage may have been defeated this week, after the issue was shot down by the opposition Labor Party.