Following five years of internal debate, the Church of England declared on Wednesday that it will not permit priests to marry same-sex couples.

Bishops met on Tuesday to come to conclusions that still support the church’s doctrine that Holy Matrimony occurs between one man and one woman for life, according to Christian Today.

The church confirmed in a statement that same-sex couples cannot get married but would be given the chance to express gratitude.

The church said in a statement:

“Under the proposals, same-sex couples would still not be able to get married in a Church of England church.

“They can instead come to church to give thanks for their civil marriage or civil partnership and receive God’s blessing.”

When the church’s legislative body, the General Synod, convenes in London at the beginning of next month, no vote will be taken on the matter.

However, the church announced that it would apologize to LGBTQ individuals for the “rejection, exclusion, and hostility” they had experienced in churches.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said:

“Both personally and on behalf of my fellow bishops I would like to express our deep sorrow and grief at the way LGBTQI+ people and those they love have been treated by the Church”.

“We are deeply sorry and ashamed and want to take this opportunity to begin again in the spirit of repentance which our faith teaches us,” he added.