Anglicans sanction US Episcopal Church over gay marriage
NEW YORK (AP):
Anglican leaders yesterday temporarily restricted the role of the US Episcopal Church in their global fellowship as a sanction over the church's acceptance of gay marriage.
Episcopalians have been barred for three years from any policy-setting positions in the Anglican Communion while a task force is formed that will try to reconcile conflicting views over sexuality in the 85 million-member family of churches. The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States.
The announcement came near the end of a weeklong meeting in Britain, called by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, to heal rifts over same-sex relationships and keep the Anglican Communion from splitting apart.
Welby, the Anglican spiritual leader, has set a news conference today to explain the leaders' decision.
Anglicans, whose roots are in the missionary work of the Church of England, are the third-largest grouping of Christians in the world, behind Roman Catholics and the Orthodox.
There was no immediate comment from the New York-based Episcopal Church, whose leader, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, has been attending the meeting.
While the US Episcopal Church is alone among Anglican provinces in approving gay marriage, other Anglican national churches, in Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand and Scotland, have taken steps towards accepting same-sex relationships. The top body of the Anglican Church of Canada is scheduled to vote in July on a proposal that would authorise gay marriage