The Church of England said it only learned of the finer details of the Government's gay marriage plans when they were announced to Parliament
The head of the Anglican Church in Wales has said he was seeking to persuade the Government to drop plans to make it illegal to marry same-sex couples in its places of worship.
Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan said that the move to outlaw gay marriage in the Church of England and Church in Wales came as a "total shock" when it was announced by equalities minister Maria Miller on Tuesday as part of a "quadruple lock" to protect them from legal challenge.
Dr Morgan said that his church did not want the protection, which has put it in an "enormously difficult position" by threatening to "severely curtail" its freedom to make future decisions on whether it wanted to host same-sex weddings.
Under the proposed measure, any decision to allow gay marriage in Anglican churches in England or Wales would require not only a change in canon law, but also an amendment to legislation in Parliament. Other religious organisations would be able to "opt in" to hosting same-sex weddings, as Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Judaism have indicated they will.
Government sources said the Church of England was informed "at a very senior level" ahead of Mrs Miller's statement of the specific details of the measures she was planning. But Dr Morgan said that the Church in Wales - which unlike the CofE was disestablished in 1914 - was not consulted.
Dr Morgan told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "Judging by my emails and the reaction of my fellow bishops, this is not a position we are terribly happy with. It came as a total shock to us. I think some of us would want to argue that there has got to be a way round this legally without making it a criminal act to hold such marriages in church if we so wish."
Dr Morgan said that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport seemed to have regarded the Church in Wales - which has been separate from the CoE for almost a century - as a "tag-on" to the established church, rather than a separate body which it needed to consult. "We didn't even have informal contacts with officials," he said. "The Church of England may have had that, but the Church in Wales certainly did not. I think we were just regarded as a kind of tag-on, as it were. It has put us in an enormously difficult position... It would have been nice to have some kind of consultation with somebody."
Senior officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport met the Bishop of Leicester, the Right Rev Tim Stevens, and other CoE figures last week ahead of the announcement. But a CoE spokesman said that the Bishop of Leicester was not told the "fine detail" of Mrs Miller's proposals in advance.
Yvette Cooper, shadow minister for Women and Equality, said: "Ministers have made a real mess of this. Why are they making it expressly illegal for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to hold same-sex marriages, when even senior figures in both churches are questioning it? The Government should rethink this before they publish the legislation. Religious freedom should be protected in the legislation. But that goes both ways. Churches that want to hold same-sex marriages should be able to do so.
"Although the Church of England has said it does not support same-sex marriage right now I hope it will change its position in time. Parliament should not be making it harder for any Church to change its mind in future - especially the established church. Adding extra 'locks' to make it additionally 'illegal' for the Church of England and the Church in Wales to hold same-sex marriages sends a negative and outdated message. I hope the Government starts listening and changes these plans or we will need to consider possible amendments once the Bill is published."