Homosexuality and the Anglican Communion
Since the 1990s, the Anglican Communion has struggled with controversy regarding homosexuality in the church. In 1998, the 13th Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops passed a resolution stating that homosexual acts are ""incompatible with Scripture"". In 2002, the Diocese of New Westminster, in the Anglican Church of Canada, permitted the blessing of same-sex unions. In 2003, two openly gay men in England and the United States became candidates for bishop. In the Church of England, Jeffrey John eventually succumbed to pressure to withdraw his name from consideration to be the Bishop of Reading. In the Episcopal Church in the United States, Gene Robinson was elected and consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire, becoming the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion. This was highly controversial and led several hundred bishops to boycott the 2008 Lambeth Conference. As an alternative to Lambeth, many of these bishops attended the Global Anglican Futures Conference in Jerusalem.Many provinces, primarily from the Global South and representing about half of the 80 million practising Anglicans worldwide, have responded to these theological disputes by declaring a state of impaired communion with their Western counterparts. Minority groups in Western provinces have stated their opposition to what they consider unscriptural actions by the churches in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Since 2000, some conservative Global South provinces have appointed missionary bishops to the United States and Canada to provide pastoral oversight to disaffected Anglicans. This process, known as Anglican realignment, is considered by the Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada to be an illegitimate incursion into their territories; however, conservative Anglicans argued that the incursions were necessary because of the failure of these churches to uphold orthodox teaching with regard to human sexuality.