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Stonewall CEO warns stance taken by the Anglican Church could be dangerous for LGBT people–religious or not

Stonewall CEO warns stance taken by the Anglican Church could be dangerous for LGBT people–religious or not

The Anglican Church on Thursday handed the US Episcopal Church a three-year suspension, a punishment for its support of gay marriage and allowing its clergy to perform same sex marriages. During this time, the US branch will be barred from any policy-setting positions in the Anglican Communion.

The announcement was made towards to the end of a week-long summit of leaders representing 40 separate Anglican churches around the world, some of whom are attending the meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rev Justin Welby, the first time in more than a decade following a boycott of an earlier conference in 2008.

In a column published by the Telegraph before the announcement was made, CEO of gay rights group Stonewall Ruth Hunt warned that a ‘split would be incredibly dangerous for the thousands of LGBT people—and their families—who live in countries where being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is illegal or punishable by death.’

‘People who live, work and pray in fear that they cannot divulge their true identity. People who feel that their family—the Church—is no longer a place for them.’

‘The Church and its leaders are right to stand up to some of the more conservative elements and support LGBT communities,’ she wrote.

Threats of schism came to the surface as early as in 2003 when the US Episcopal Church ordained its first openly gay Bishop, Gene Robinson.

On Friday, the archbishop of Canterbury apologized for the ‘hurt and pain’ the Anglican church has inflicted on LGBTI people as he defended the decision to sanction the US Episcopal Church for allowing same-sex marriage.

Prior to the meeting, more than 100 senior Anglicans signed a letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, calling on the Church of England to apologize for treating gay people as ‘a problem to be solved’.

Jayne Ozanne, one of the signatories and member of General Synod, was quoting as saying in the Telegraph: ‘There are some within the LGBT community who are so fed up with being slandered and being held back, that they have lost patience with [the conservative wing]. My view is that it’s terribly important that we stick together because who is going to speak up for gay Christians in Africa or Asia if we go?’

Robinson, who retired as bishop of New Hampshire in 2010, said in response to the sanction on Twitter, ‘God’s judgment against those who include too many will be less harsh than the judgment against those who include too few.’