Australia's Anglican Church voted Thursday not to allow the ordination of homosexuals or the church blessing of same-sex relationships. The vote, backing motions from the church's hierarchy, is a victory for conservatives at its General Synod, being held in the western port city of Fremantle.
"We must say it gently and with compassion, but we must not condone any liturgical blessing of homosexual partnerships in disregard of the plain teaching of Jesus," said Sandy Grant, a rector in the Sydney parish of Kurrajong. "To deliberately hallow such God-forbidden relationships is to approve sin." How to deal with homosexuality is an issue that threatens to split the 77 million worldwide Anglican communion.
Later this month a group known as the Lambeth Commission will recommend what course the Anglican Communion should take in response to the U.S. Episcopal Church's actions last year in consecrating gay bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire. The Australian synod meeting also agreed to support parliament's ruling earlier this year that marriage is limited to the union of one man and one woman.
Earlier this week the synod also voted against allowing women to become bishops.