Anglican priests’ same-sex ‘wedding’ adds to global row

.- The recent revelation that two Anglican clergymen exchanged last month vows in a version of a marriage ceremony has renewed the controversy over same-sex unions within the Anglican Communion.

Critics condemned the latest ceremony as blasphemous, saying it also flouted church guidelines.

The ceremony, which used formal rites, took place at St. Bartholomew the Great Church in London in May. It was conducted for Reverend Peter Cowell and Reverend Dr. David Lord, who were already civil partners. According to BBC News, the couple reportedly exchanged vows and rings in front of hundreds of guests.

Reverend Martin Dudley, who conducted the service, said he had not broken any instructions issued by the bishops.

“It wasn't a gay church wedding, it was the blessing of two people who have contracted a civil partnership,” Rev. Dudley said.

"They wanted more than I was able to give - they wanted something more like a wedding. I was not willing to do that because I believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman,” he told BBC News.

Rev. Dudley said he and the couple had to negotiate the form of the ceremony so that he could say the words of the rite “with integrity.”

The Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Reverend Henry Orombi, told the Sunday Telegraph, “The leadership tried to deny that this would happen, but now the truth is out.

"Our respect for the Church of England will erode unless we see a return to traditional teaching."

Under Church of England guidelines, homosexual priests can enter civil partnerships as long as they remain celibate. The guidelines also say that homosexual couples who ask a priest to bless their partnership must be treated “pastorally and sensitively.”

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