The Church of England on Wednesday rejected a report opposed to marriage equality.

The Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations report by the House of Bishops was released last month at a cost of more than £300,000. It called for the church to uphold its current teaching that marriage is a heterosexual union and reaffirm the view that gay clergy must remain celibate and cannot bless the marriages of gay and lesbian couples. The report's authors called on the church to take “a fresh tone and culture of welcome and support” for the LGBT community.

While a majority of bishops and laity voted to “take note” of the report, a majority of clergy rejected the report's findings.

Dozens of demonstrators protested the report. Holding signs which read “Proud to be gay … Now make me proud to be Christian” and “Synod should reject bigot's report,” they stood outside as church leaders voted on whether to accept the findings.

Colin Coward, a minister and director of Changing Attitude, told the AFP during the protest that a change in tone on the issue is a “superficial proposal.”

“Christ talked about a God of infinite, unconditional love. I don't think the Church – this is a shocking thing to say – really understands what that is,” he said.

The wider Anglican Communion has 85 million members worldwide. The Episcopal Church in the United States in 2015 decided it would allow religious weddings for gay couples. But in several countries with large Anglican congregations, such as South Sudan and Nigeria, homosexuality is either illegal or strongly frowned upon.