Coronation Street star Antony Cotton has spoken out against the Church of England’s condemnation of gay marriage, insisting that it should ‘move with the times’.

The government is holding consultations over plans to open marriage to gay couples by 2015, but Church leaders have argued that same-sex weddings would ‘dilute’ the institution of marriage.

The 36-year-old – who plays barman Sean Tully in the ITV1 soap – told the Manchester Evening News: “I’ve heard many comments – from the craziest, most out of touch, lunatic clerics to the most sensible of Church representatives. Nothing surprises me any more. My view is simple – equality is equality is equality.”

Antony accused the Church of being out of step with modern views.

“If the Church is going to move forward and remain relevant, it has to move with the times,” he insisted.

“Young people, generally, couldn’t give a damn if people are gay – they are resilient and accept it. It’s not enough any more to say that the Church is set in its ways.”

He added: “They can’t have an appendix where there are stipulations on equality. What’s illegal is determined by the state – not the Church.”