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Don't ban gays, says Episcopal leader

The leader of Utah's Episcopal community says gay members and clergy will never again be disqualified from ministry, despite the angst that position has caused among millions of members of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

"What would such a reversal say to our gay brothers and sisters?" asked the Right Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish of the Diocese of Utah in a statement on Tuesday. "Go back to the closet? To deceit and dishonesty?"

Her comments came in response to "Windsor Report," which was issued in response to the ordination of a gay bishop last summer. Anglican leaders also examined the blessing of same-sex unions by a Canadian church.

The Windsor Report calls for bishops in the U.S. church to apologize for ordaining Bishop Eugene Robinson of New Hampshire in August 2003. Robinson is openly gay.

Conservative leaders around the globe believe uniformity on gay ordination and same-sex blessings is vital to the perpetuation of the faith. But Bishop Irish said her view of "communion" means something different than having every church worldwide agree on those issues.

The report recommends formation of a council that would work with a presiding bishop in adjudicating cases of disobedience to authority within the faith.

"I don't think we have to go there," she told the Deseret Morning News. "I don't have the expectation that provinces and diocese elsewhere must ordain women and gays. I don't have the need that they do that in order to be satisfactory to me.

"But they do have that need and expectation" of uniformity, she said, "and they pin it all on their reading of scripture, which is really not our reading of scripture."

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