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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 December, 2003, 07:03 GMT
SE Asian Anglicans end US ties

By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Kuala Lumpur

The Anglican Church in South East Asia has announced that it is to suspend its ties with its sister church in the United States following its appointment of an openly gay bishop.

The Anglican Primate of South East Asia described same sex unions as an abomination to God and said relations would stay on ice until the appointment is revoked.

The Bishop of New Hampshire, Gene Robinson
Gene Robinson was elected Bishop of New Hampshire in June
Dr Gene Robinson became the first person to become bishop of an Anglican church while in an openly gay relationship when he was elected Episcopalian Bishop of New Hampshire in June.

Last month, the Primates of the Global South, the leaders of an estimated fifty million Anglicans in the developing world, issued a statement deploring the appointment.

But the Anglican province of South East Asia, which is known for its conservative outlook, has now gone further.

Church leaders from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Nepal voted unanimously for the suspension of ties at a special meeting in Malaysia last month.

The leader of the province, Archbishop Yong Ping Chung, says same sex unions are against nature, biblical teaching and church doctrine.

He says Anglicans in South East Asia will remain in fellowship with those in the United States who oppose Bishop Robinson's appointment.

But official links with Episcopalian churches in America will be broken until the bishop is either removed from office or steps down.

The BBC's Robert Piggott
"Feelings are running high"

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