THE vicar of Llangibby has resigned so he can speak out over the need for a full debate on same-sex marriages.

Reverend Andrew Morton believes the Anglican church should allow gay marriages, but said some elements of the church are "homophobic" and see it as "the work of the devil."

But, whatever people’s views, Rev Morton has become frustrated by the UK Government’s failure to engage with church groups in its consultation.

He said:"There are very strong views on both sides and people shouldn’t feel constrained on what to say. I’m taking a punt by resigning, but I want to say things my oath to the Church in Wales won’t allow."

Rev Morton has been a vicar in south Wales for 35 years and has presided over churches at Llangibby, Coed-y-Paen, Llanbadoc and Tredunnock since 1992.

He agreed to stay in the role until the summer of 2013, allowing him to fulfill wedding and other service commitments and giving time for a replacement to be found and a new chaplain to be appointed for Coleg Gwent.

Rev Morton said while the interpretation of the bible has changed over the centuries, the most relevant parts to same-sex marriages pertain to "mutual love and respect".

His belief is the Church in Wales should approach same-sex marriages as it does the marriage of divorcees- left to the discretion of the vicar.

While he said the Church in Wales is "in many sense the good guys", he believes the organisation should do more to speak out against anti gay marriage sentiment.

He added: "I’m hoping the debate will be widened and people will come out from entrenched positions and listen properly."

In a statement, the Church in Wales said it’s "a matter of regret" for clergy to resign over an issue "yet to be resolved", adding: "We are trying to move forward gently in a way that takes everyone along with us".

The bench of Bishops said it abided by the Christian doctrine of marriage as the union between one man and one woman freely entered into for life.

The statement added: "We acknowledge that while issues of human sexuality are not resolved, there are couples living in other lifelong committed relationships who deserve the welcome, pastoral care and support of the church and we are committed to further listening, prayerful reflection and discernment regarding same-sex relationships."