Gay unions split Anglicans

Cracks persist within the leadership of the Anglican Church over the same-sex marriage bill, due to be signed into law next month.

Cracks persist within the leadership of the Anglican Church over the same-sex marriage bill, due to be signed into law next month.

The dean of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Bishop David Beetge, said Anglican bishops were still divided over the matter.

He said the Anglican Church stood by the resolution adopted at the 13th Lambeth Conference in 1998 that homosexual acts were incompatible with the scriptures.

The resolution was passed by a vote of 526 to 70.

The Lambeth conference is a gathering of Anglican bishops.

Its resolutions are not binding on member churches, but carry considerable moral authority within the Anglican church.

Beetge said that gays and lesbians were being allowed to become full members of the body of Christ (the church) on the provision that they remained celibate.

Bishop Thabo Makgoba, of the Grahamstown diocese of the Anglican Church, said that the church leadership was divided on the matter.

"We agree that we have to discuss and listen to the experiences of all people around this issue so that when a conclusion is arrived at all of us understand and appreciate the challenges that all people feel," he said.

"It is a painful position, quite an ambiguous one, but we pray that God will be with us and will empower us through the Holy Spirit."

Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu recently criticised conservative Anglicans who want to uphold the ban on same-sex marriages and block gays from entering the priesthood unless they remain celibate. - Sapa

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