Archbishop of Canterbury “putting church unity before gay equality”

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Anglican Church has been accused of betraying gay people across the world.

OutRage!, the direct action group, held a protest yesterday at the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade meeting of church leaders.

The conference discussed human sexuality yesterday, but there was no condemnation of some African bishops who are openly homophobic.

“The Lambeth Conference has failed to defend lesbian and gay human rights,” said Brett Lock from OutRage.

“Its fence-sitting attempts to reconcile the opponents and defenders of homosexual human rights are doomed to failure. There can be no reconciliation with bishops who want to deny gay people dignity, respect and human rights.

“Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria has backed legislation to outlaw gay churches, gay organisations, gay HIV prevention programmes and gay human rights advocacy.

“Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, excommunicated heterosexual bishop, Christopher Senyonjo, after he spoke out against the persecution of lesbian and gay Ugandans.

“The anti-gay diatribes of both men help fuel of the atmosphere of homophobic hatred, discrimination and violence that exists in their countries.

“Archbishop Rowan Williams and the Lambeth Conference have not shown moral leadership. Their unwillingness to challenge homophobes within their own church is a major moral shortcoming and a tragic betrayal of the LGBT community.”

Today one of those Archbishops attacked Dr Williams.

“Even the Pope is elected by his peers. But what the Anglicans have is a man appointed by a secular government,” Archbishop Orombi, who is boycotting the conference, wrote in The Times.

“Over the past five years we have come to see this as a remnant of British colonialism, and it is not serving us well.”

Members of OutRage! and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement picketed yesterday’s conference session.

On a grassy bank outside the conference entrance they laid out a giant 40-foot by 20-foot banner emblazoned with the words “Stop Crucifying Queers.”

OutRage’s Peter Tatchell accused the bishops of avoiding the protest by using a side entrance.

40 senior Anglican bishops debated homosexuality at the conference although there was no formal proposal for how to move forward on the issue.

The Lambeth Conference ends on Sunday.