The Lambeth Conference seems more interested in appeasing homophobes within the Anglican Church than in defending the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people,” said gay campaigner Peter Tatchell from OutRage! on Thursday.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury is putting church unity before gay equality. There should be no collusion with anti-gay bishops who support the imprisonment of gay people and the banning of gay churches.”

Tatchell was speaking to reporters at the Lambeth Conference – the once in ten years gathering of the Anglican and Episcopal churches from around the world – which was held last week at the University of Kent in south-east England.

The event ended on Sunday with no firm position on gay clergy, but with the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams claiming that the “pieces are on the board” for an agreement.

He said that the conference had “…not evaded the difficult questions even if it hasn’t answered them in the way that some people would have liked.” He further called on Anglican congregations to refrain from consecrating gay clergy.

“Dr Rowan Williams would never appease racists or anti-Semites. Why, then, is he seeking to accommodate within the Anglican Communion boastful homophobes like the Archbishops of Nigeria and Uganda,” asked Tatchell?

Members of OutRage! and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement picketed Thursday’s conference session on homosexuality.

On a grassy bank outside the conference entrance they laid out a giant 40-foot by 20-foot banner emblazoned with the words “Stop Crucifying Queers.”

They also displayed placards with the words: “Anglicans! Repent your homophobia,” “Defend gays, fight Christian bigots” and “Anglicans preach sexual apartheid.”

“The Lambeth Conference has failed to defend lesbian and gay human rights. Its fence-sitting attempts to reconcile the opponents and defenders of homosexual human rights are doomed to failure. There can be no reconciliation with bishops who want to deny gay people dignity, respect and human rights,” said protester and OutRage! member, Brett Lock.

“Archbishop Rowan Williams and the Lambeth Conference have not shown moral leadership. Their unwillingness to challenge homophobes within their own church is a major moral shortcoming and a tragic betrayal of the LGBT community,” said Lock.

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