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Episcopalians given 8 months to conform

Feb. 20, 2007 at 9:47 AM

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A Tanzania summit of worldwide Anglican Communion leaders has concluded with an 8-month deadline for Episcopalians to stop performing same-sex marriages.

Meeting in Dar es Salaam, leaders of 38 regional or national churches issued a communiqué Monday night giving the U.S. branch until Sept. 30 to clarify its positions on same-sex marriages and ordaining gays and lesbians, a Los Angeles Times correspondent reported.

The statement warned if the requested reassurances could not be given by then, the Episcopal Church ran the risk its relationship with the global communion would be "damaged at best."

There are 77 million Anglicans in the communion and Episcopalians number 2.3 million.

Anglican teaching states sex is reserved for married heterosexual couples but in 2003, the Episcopal Church ordained Gene Robinson, a gay man living with his partner, as bishop of New Hampshire.

Conservative Anglicans have demanded the U.S. branch be disciplined, reduced to second-tier status or expelled for failing to adhere to the global communion's resolutions, the report said.

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