Bishop Welby
Bishop Welby | Source: BBC

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda, after being asked about laws there penalising gay people.

The letter said homosexual people were loved and valued by God and should not be victimised or diminished.

Nigeria and Uganda have both passed legislation targeting people with same-sex attraction.

The letter is also addressed to all primates (heads of national Churches) in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Archbishops Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York said the letter was a result of “questions about the Church of England’s attitude to new legislation in several countries that penalises people with same-sex attraction”.

The letter comes as Archbishop Welby starts a five-day tour of four African countries.

In Nigeria last month, President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law a bill which bans same-sex marriages, gay groups and shows of same-sex public affection.

In Uganda – Archbishop Sentamu’s native country – a bill allowing for greater punishments for gay people, and those who fail to turn them in to police, has been passed by parliament, but blocked – for now – by President Yoweri Museveni.

Archbishop Welby’s stance on homosexual relationships has created tension with more traditionalist Anglicans.

Last October, he held talks with members of the Global Anglican Future Conference (Gafcon), which condemns those who preach what it calls a “false gospel” claiming God’s blessing for same-sex unions.

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