Archbishop of Canterbury said excluding spouses of gay bishops at the international Anglican conference was a “painful decision”.
The University of Kent is set to host the Lambeth Conference – which takes place once a decade – next year and while heterosexual bishops are able to invite their spouses, Justin Welby has told same-sex partner they are not allowed to attend as it would be ‘inappropriate’.
The ban is reportedly legal under the Equality Act due to a religious exemption and was made to be suitable for conservative countries where homosexuality is still illegal.
For the first time, gay bishops have been invited to the conference but while speaking to The Times, Welby said not inviting spouses of gay bishops was a “lose-lose situation”.
He said: "Well over 90 per cent of the Anglican communion are conservative on issues of sexuality.
“I've invited all the bishops, including those in same-sex marriages. And I had to consider . . . getting as many people as possible there and excluding as few as possible. It's a lose-lose situation.
"I had to take what is a really difficult and painful decision to say, in order for the conference to be as representative as possible and get all the bishops there and not have the risk of some provinces not coming because they felt I was pushing the envelope too far, that I couldn't ask all the spouses."