In newly disclosed letters, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams writes that the Bible doesn't forbid same sex relationships when there is a commitment similar to traditional marriages, a British newspaper reported Thursday.
The report by the Times of London was the latest development in the controversial issue of how the Anglican church should view homosexuality. Williams has come under intense scrutiny as differing views over whether to accept changes in traditional biblical understanding of same-sex relationships have threatened to split the 77 million-member Anglican Communion.
The archbishop's office declined to comment on the issue on Thursday.
The newspaper reported that Williams outlined his views on the controversial subject in letters written between 2000 and 2001 to Deborah Pitt, a psychiatrist and evangelical Christian who asked for his opinion.
"I concluded that 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," the newspaper quoted Williams as writing.
The Anglican uproar over homosexuality erupted in 2003, when the Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the United States, consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Williams attempted to bridge the divide at the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of Anglican leaders that began in July, saying in a speech Sunday that Anglicans need more time to consider whether to accept changes in traditional interpretations of the Bible.
Critics accuse Williams of being too liberal on homosexuality and more than 200 traditionalist bishops boycotted the Lambeth meeting. But the meeting failed to break the theological deadlock, leading some liberal Anglicans to accuse Williams of appeasing conservatives.