The new leader of the Church of England, Justin Welby, formally appointed on Thursday, has re-iterated the Church's opposition to same-sex relationships.
Welby, who takes the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, accepted that gay couples have loving, stable and monogamous relationships, but outlined the challenge for the Church in accepting marriage equality.
The Archbishop was sworn in the same week as Pope Francis who was inaugurated in Rome on Tuesday. Though the Anglican Church of England maintains a more tolerant attitude to LGBT rights than the Catholic faith, Welby articulated that his Church firmly stands by traditional marriage.
"The Church of England holds very firmly, and continues to hold the view, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one woman," Welby told BBC News.
However, he re-affirmed that the Church was supportive of diversity but the proposed marriage equality legislation in the UK posed difficulties for the faith, and it is "challenged as to how we respond to it."
"At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human, is the essential dignity of the human being. And so we have to be very clear about homophobia," Welby added.