It reminds one of that old Monty Python sketch with a load of Aussies sitting around shouting, "No poofters!" It's a cry that seems to be coming from all over the Anglican Church at the moment. The Pythons said it with an element of harmless fun, but the Archbishop of Cant, Rowan Williams, is serious.
We shouldn't be surprised, of course. He's trying to save the church of which he is head from schism, and already a quarter of the world's bishops – mainly from African countries, where homophobia is rife – have refused to attend the current Lambeth Conference, the church's ten-yearly powwow.
Apart from that, they believe that sex – a natural phenomenon among animals – is strictly for people who have undergone either a legal or spiritual (preferably both) ceremony, the mumbo-jumbo. That was convenient, because they could allow married people who had merely undergone a civil ceremony to play a part in the clergy and the episcopate if that person wished to join.
Now, two gays can undergo a ceremony, and in some places, such as California, they can even call it "marriage". Not so convenient.
So what does Williams mean when he says, "I do not believe that sex outside marriage is as God purposes it"? What of sex within a California marriage, for instance? That's called marriage, Dr Williams. Sorry, but you can't hide behind the not-married thing any more (any more than you can with civil partnerships here in Blighty, which is why I made the point about civil marriages above, but we'll let that pass for the moment).
So you somehow know that two people of the same sex married in California, to stick with our example, are not married in the eyes of God? How do you know that?
He made his remarks as the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement distributed copies at the conference of Williams's 1989 essay "The Body's Grace", in which he adopted a liberal stance towards same-sex love, arguing that the Bible didn't necessarily legislate only for "reproductive sex".
It's a bloody mess, Archbishop. Admit it: you don't know whether you're coming or going.