Anglicans’ deep divisions over homosexuality remain after North American bishops failed this week to defend their support for gay rights.

At a meeting of the worldwide Anglican Consultative Council in Britain this week, the US Anglican Church justified its decision to consecrate an openly gay bishop, saying in a report it had discerned genuine holiness in the lives of homosexuals, The Times reported.

But the progressive stance met with rejection from conservatives, who are expected to call for the North Americans’ permanent expulsion from the worldwide Anglican Church, according to The Guardian.

Earlier this year, US and Canadian representatives were asked to leave Anglican Consultative Council until 2008 because of their support for gay rights.

The issue of homosexuality has threatened to split Anglicans since the US Episcopal Church’s 2003 ordination of the openly gay Gene Robinson.

That move, as well as Canadian Anglicans’ support for same-sex unions, has angered Church conservatives.

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