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Sentamu is sent racist emails after row over gay marriage

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been sent racist emails after making controversial comments about same-sex marriage.

Police in North Yorkshire said they were treating the emails as potential hate crimes. Last month Dr Sentamu, the second most senior cleric in the Church of England, said ministers should not overrule the Bible by allowing same-sex marriage. He said David Cameron would be acting like a "dictator" if he allowed the reforms.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the Archbishop said marriage was set in history and the state could not change it overnight. The Government will open a consultation on same-sex marriage in March.

A spokeswoman for Dr Sentamu said: "A large quantity of correspondence was received in response to the Archbishop's interview.

"Among many positive emails that he has received, there have been a small number of abusive and threatening emails of a racist nature."

Dr Sentamu's comments provoked protests last week. Around 70 demonstrators held placards and chanted songs outside York Minster as activists denounced his words.