Bishops in the American Episcopal Church, part of the Anglican Communion, voted overwhelmingly to accept a special liturgy for what is effectively a form of homosexual wedding.
The liberal stance of American Anglicans has proved one of the biggest challenges to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams’s authority during his 10-year tenure.
Its decision nine years ago to consecrate the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, triggered a crisis in the Anglican world, splitting the 77 million-strong Communion into liberal and conservative camps.
He has dedicated much of the last nine years to trying to heal the divisions it caused without success. Read more