A group of Anglican bishops has defied church leaders to declare their support for the marriage equality bill before parliament.

The seven bishops have publicly called for MPs to resist the push towards amendments for religious protections, The Sydney Morning Herald has reported.

Dean Smith’s bill is being debated in the lower house from today, and is expected to pass by the end of the week.

Assuming the bill passes unchanged, it will become law, allowing same-sex marriages to happen in a matter of weeks.

As the need for additional protection of religious freedoms is debated, the bishops wrote to lower house MPs to tell them not all religious leaders support such amendments.

“[The bill] preserves the fabric of our anti-discrimination laws, which have been developed over half a century,” the group’s letter said.

“These give expression to democratic values of equality and fairness. It also accords fulsome recognition of the religious rights and freedoms that underpin a democratic, plural and multicultural society.”

The Anglican church continues to be divided over marriage equality.

Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies donated $1 million to the No campaign during the marriage equality postal survey.

Archbishop Philip Freier, who said he voted No in the survey, has also been vocal in calling for additional religious protections in the bill.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he intends to support the proposed amendments, which would permit civil celebrants to refuse service to same-sex couples.

“A lot of the amendments we’re talking about are really providing assurance that things that are unintended consequences are not going to occur,” he said.

A series of amendments were last week shot down in the Senate, with Labor voting as a bloc to defeat all amendments and ensure the bill passed in its original form.

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