While the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has recently taken a conservative approach to homosexuality it appears that he once thought gay relationships might be comparable to heterosexual ones.

The Anglican head’s pro-gay stance was included in letters that he wrote between 2000 and 2001 while he was archbishop of Wales, which were released this week.

“An active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness,” wrote Williams.

In the letters he argued that biblical passages such as those in Leviticus which have traditionally been seen as condemning homosexuality actually refer to “heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience”.

Williams also wrote that he hoped that the Anglican Church would come to be more accepting of homosexuality in the future.

The letters will add fuel to claims that Williams has hypocritically kow-towed to Anglican conservatives who are opposed to the ordination of gay clergy and same-sex marriage in a desperate bid hold the Church together.

Writing in Britain’s The Times Mary Ann Sieghart accused Williams of sacrificing his beliefs for “the quixotic goal of Anglican unity,” adding that, “He should have the confidence of his beliefs; and he should be given the space to propound them.”

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