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Australia's Anglican leader urges acceptance of gay relationships

Posted: Friday, May 18, 2001

PERTH, Australia (AP) -- The new head of the Anglican Church of Australia has said Christians should treat same-sex relationships as ''committed friendships,'' but stopped just short of openly condoning gay marriages.

Archbishop Peter Carnley wrote in the Bulletin magazine that same-sex relationships would be less likely to fail if the church accepted them. He said that, in the future, acceptance might include allowing homosexual couples to seek formal church approval through ceremonies similar to marriage.

In Carnley's opinion, the Bible has no clear teachings about homosexual behavior and the few mentions appear to target promiscuity. He said the church should focus on the homosexual friendships as vehicles for ''love, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, mutual respect, care and steadfast loyalty.''

Acceptance of homosexual activity is the most serious issue dividing 77 million Anglicans worldwide. A 1998 meeting of the world's Anglican bishops gave overwhelming approval to a resolution opposing same-sex activity.

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