A MOTION calling on the Church of England to oppose a Government plan to give more rights to gay couples will be debated by church leaders in the region on Saturday.

The Civil Partnership Bill aims to give the same rights as married couples to gay couples and single people living together.

Delegates at the meeting of Ripon and Leeds Diocesan Synod, which will be held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, will be asked to vote on a motion tabled by Michael Laycock, of St Wilfrid's Church, in Harrogate: "That this Synod affirms its opposition to the civil partnership's bill presently passing through Parliament."

The motion is expected to receive opposition from some of the 150 parish representatives meeting in Harrogate, who believe the rights should be granted.

The Civil Partnerships Bill will have its second reading in the Commons this month.

In June, the House of Lords backed an amendment to broaden the bill extending legal rights to non-gay couples living together, including family members.

Seen as a compromise, the amendment has the support of many in the church, but is likely to be overturned when the Bill returns to the Commons.

Also on the agenda at the meeting will be a debate on church schools and presentations on the role of cathedrals and the Mothers' Union.