A top Anglican cleric spoke out Thursday against a proposed Ugandan law that would impose the death penalty on some homosexuals.
Archbishop of York John Sentamu - who along with the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is one of the global fellowship's most senior priests - made what he said was the Anglicans' first public condemnation of the anti-gay law now being considered by the East African nation's parliament.
"I'm opposed to the death sentence. I'm also not happy when you describe people in the kind of language you find in this ... bill," he told BBC radio.
The issue of homosexuality has triggered a debate that has divided the global 77 million-strong Anglican fellowship. Sentamu chose his words carefully, restating the content of a 2004 Anglican statement that condemned "the victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex."
Nearly 40 percent of Ugandans are Anglicans, and the country has become a rallying point for Anglican conservatives angry over blessings given to gay marriages and the ordination of gay bishops, with some U.S. Episcopal denominations switching their allegiance to the Church of Uganda following the 2003 ordination of openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson.