Archbishop's 'regret' over US decision over gay bishops

The Archbishop of Canterbury today expressed "regret" over a vote by US Anglicans to oppose a moratorium on consecrating gay bishops.

Dr Rowan Williams said it remained "to be seen" whether last night's vote by the House of Deputies of the US Anglican Church, made up of clergy and lay people, would be endorsed by the US Episcopal Church House of Bishops.

"I regret the fact that there is no will to observe the moratorium in such a significant part of the Church in North America," he told the General Synod of the Church of England meeting in York.

The vote comes as a blow to attempts by Dr Williams to maintain unity within the Anglican Communion following a worldwide row over the consecration in the US of the Rt Rev Gene Robinson in 2003 as the first openly gay bishop.

Anglican leaders requested the moratorium five years ago and the Episcopal Church General Convention three years ago urged "restraint" over the election of bishops whose "manner of life" would cause offence to the wider Anglican Communion.

Last month US and Canadian orthodox Anglicans held the inaugural assembly of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) in Bedford, Texas.

The ACNA is formed of around 700 orthodox Anglican congregations who have broken away from The Episcopal Church in the US over the consecration Bishop Robinson.