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Archbishop Justin Welby in backlash after he defends Lambeth 2020 gay spouse ban

The Archbishop of Canterbury "kowtowed to those who are promoting discrimination and prejudice" by barring gay bishops from bringing their spouses to a major Anglican conference, it has been claimed.

Most Rev Justin Welby came in for fresh criticism on Monday after he said the decision - aimed at avoiding by a boycott of the Lambeth Conference next year by traditionalists - was a "lose-lose situation".

Rev Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who last week launched the Campaign for Equal Marriage in the Church of England, wrote to The Times to express his concern.

 

He said: "It is sacrificing the vulnerable for the sake of the powerful. Indeed, in making that decision, he has kowtowed to those who are promoting discrimination and prejudice across the communion."

Held every ten years, the Lambeth Conference invites all active bishops of member churches within the global Anglican Communion body to meet, pray and discuss.

It had previously announced this year's summit would be the first where bishops would be allowed to bring the spouses.

Threats of a boycott ensued, with some conservative bishops saying gay spouses should not be received in "good standing" at Lambeth 2020.

The consternation prompted the Anglican Communion to clarify its position, saying "it would be inappropriate for same-sex spouses to be invited to the conference", in light of the Communion's stance on marriage.

Speaking to The Times last week, Archbishop Justin Welby said: "Over 90 per cent of the Anglican communion are conservative on issues of sexuality.

"I've invited all the bishops, including those in same-sex marriages. And I had to consider...getting as many people as possible there and excluding as few as possible. It's a lose-lose situation."

Canon emeritus of Canterbury Cathedral, John Bond responded with a letter to The Times, saying: "He could turn it into awin-win situation by disinviting the spouses of straight bishops, thus avoiding any taint of anti-gay discrimination while saving the Church the not inconsiderable cost of travel accommodation and entertainment of hundreds of spouses."

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