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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK
Gay bishop 'not an abomination'
Ballot boxes for voting at the convention
The main motion advises caution on ordination of openly gay bishops
The gay US bishop at the centre of controversy over his consecration has told a convention of US Anglicans he is "not an abomination".

Gene Robinson said the Episcopal Church should "stand up for right", adding that Anglicans should not be swayed by fear of deepening rifts over the issue.

The Ohio convention is to vote on how far to go in seeking to prevent the ordination of more openly gay bishops.

A senior conservative said it would be impossible to prevent a split.

"We've reached a moment where it is very difficult, indeed I think we've reached an impossible moment, in holding it together," Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh said, quoted by the Associated Press.

'Faithfully true'

The Episcopal General Convention is the first since Bishop Robinson's consecration in 2003.

Bishop Gene Robinson
I am not an abomination before God - please, I beg you, let's say our prayers and stand up for right
Gene Robinson
Bishop of New Hampshire

Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham in the UK, warned that a moratorium was needed on creating any bishops living with a same-sex partner until there was consensus in the church.

But in an impassioned speech, Bishop Robinson argued that the question was whether the church recognised the life of Christ in its gay and lesbian members.

It was not primarily about the future of the worldwide Anglican communion, he said.

"I am not an abomination before God," he said. "Please, I beg you, let's say our prayers and stand up for right."

He told the BBC that resolutions proposed by the convention were part of a conversation - one that he would not shy away from.

"I won't walk away. I will stay here and I will talk with anyone who is willing to talk. I will be as faithfully true as I can be with people who can be equally as faithful," he said.

'Express regret'

The main motion being discussed by the Episcopal Church suggests exercising "great caution" before ordaining another gay bishop, but falls short of the moratorium on ordination being suggested by Anglican leaders.

The motion also calls on dioceses to defer same-sex ceremonies until the Anglican communion achieves consensus on the issue.

And it says that the Episcopal Church should apologise "for having breached the bonds of affection in the Anglican communion by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners".

It urges those who took part in Bishop Robinson's election to "express regret" for the pain they have caused.

But it also recognises that gay people are "by baptism... full members of the Church" and apologises to them for years of rejection and maltreatment by the Church.

The motion is mostly based on the recommendations of the Windsor Report, resulting from an inquiry into the row in 2004.

US bishop Gene Robinson on the issue of gay clergy

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