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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 June 2006, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
New row looms over US gay bishops
Canon Michael Barlowe
Canon Barlowe's nomination is a challenge to Church leaders
A US Episcopal Church diocese has nominated a gay priest as a candidate for bishop, risking deepening a row with the global Anglican denomination.

The liberal diocese of Newark, New Jersey, named Canon Michael Barlowe as one of four candidates for the post.

A BBC correspondent says the move is a snub to the wider Anglican Church.

A week ago the Episcopal Church agreed to "exercise restraint" in consecrating gay bishops, after a furious row sparked by a previous appointment.

The Anglican Church has been in turmoil since the 2003 election of the gay bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire.

The denomination is struggling to prevent a split due to differences over the issue.

The traditionalist majority within the Anglican Church has been calling for stricter measures against the ordination of gay bishops.

The BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says Canon Barlowe's nomination could barely have come at a more sensitive moment.

The Episcopal Church, threatened with expulsion from the Anglican Church over its liberal policy on homosexuality, resolved at its ruling convention last week to restrain itself from choosing another gay bishop.

The committee which selected Canon Barlowe accepted that the convention's resolution had presented a challenge but said it had avoided eliminating any suitable candidates because of their sexual orientation.

An election will take place in September.

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