It was the Windsor Report which first proposed an Anglican Covenant, in response to two controversial events in 2003: the provision of a blessing service for same-sex partnerships by the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada, and the election of a partnered gay priest, Gene Robinson, to the post of Bishop of New Hampshire.

The idea of such a Covenant was therefore the brainchild of those who not only disapproved of same-sex partnerships, but also considered threats of schism justifiable. Today Covenant supporters still frequently refer to the North American actions as the cause of these threats, thus revealing that the desire for the Covenant is still being driven by hostility to same-sex partnerships. So, for example, writes Alyson Barnett-Cowan. There is abundant evidence that many Covenant supporters are looking forward to lodging formal objections to the churches of the USA and Canada.

Nevertheless the Covenant itself does not mention sexuality issues. If it comes into force the procedure it offers to those objecting to same-sex partnerships would be equally available to others: perhaps opponents of evolution or interfaith dialogue will appeal to the Standing Committee to establish a 'resolution' in their favour. We can only guess at the future issues.

Savitri Hensman has written an 82-page document on the Covenant from the perspective of gay and lesbian Anglicans.

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