Justin Welby, the bishop of Durham, is expected to be named the archbishop of Canterbury on FridayThe Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that the Church of England needs to accept that equal marriage is now law in England and Wales.

In his first interview with gay media, Archbishop Welby told PinkNews that it is “great” that same-sex marriage was now the law of the land.

Asked whether he had a message for Britain’s LGBT community, the 58-year-old said: “As you know I have said, and got a fair amount of flak for it within parts of the Church, we have to accept, and quite rightly, that the same-sex marriage act is law, and that it’s right and proper, it’s the law of the land, and that’s great.

“We are struggling with the issues across the Church globally. It’s complicated with ramifications that are very difficult to deal with in many parts of the world,” he added.

The Archbishop voted against the Same-Sex Marriage Act in the House of Lords last year, saying at the time he feared it “weakened” society.

Lambeth Palace has been forced to restate the Church of England’s opposition to equal marriage in light of the comments, saying that the Archbishop had only been referring to the right of Parliament to change the law as “great”.

A spokesperson said: “The Archbishop has said numerous times that he accepts the right of Parliament to change the law and that the Church should continue to demonstrate the love of Christ for every person.”