A number of Primates' Meetings have been held to discuss the controversy.

The Primates' Meetings consist of the 38 heads of the Anglican provinces, mostly archbishops. It is neither a democratic nor a representative body. Some provinces are large, some small. In some the archbishops work in conjunction with elected committees, in others they are free to set their own policies. Given the large number of archbishops from countries where gay and lesbian sexuality is still strongly condemned - especially the large African contingent - it is not surprising that the majority of Primates disapproved of the North American actions.

What has generated much more speculation is why the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, now agrees with them. From the day his appointment to Canterbury was announced he was the target of intense personal hostility, focusing on his perceived support for gay and lesbian people.

Whatever the reasons for his apparent change of mind, there is now a danger that those most aware of the Covenant's shortcomings may vote in favour of it simply in order to express sympathy with him in his difficult position. However, he will not always be Archbishop; but the Covenant, once signed, will remain.