The United Kingdom's House of Lords defeated a measure that could have required churches to employ practicing homosexuals.
The proposed amendment to the proposed equality bill sought to clarify regulations on hiring practices.
Christian rights groups said it was really an attempt to take away protections for faith-based groups. Those protections allow churches to require employees to live consistently with doctrine on sexual behavior.
The Church of England wanted to go back to rejecting candidates as senior pastors or pastoral assistants if they cannot demonstrate an ability to "live a life consistent with the ethos of the religion, as well as sharing the faith."
Ministers or priests would not have been affected by the proposed changes. They were defeated in three successive votes in the upper house on late Monday.
Current British law allows churches to reject job candidates on the grounds of gender, sexuality, or marital status. Those who want to change the law can introduce similar amendments in the House of Commons.