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Blair confortable with gay clergy but says church must decide

October 31, 2003

LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday he is comfortable with gay people serving as bishops but did not want to take sides in the debate roiling the Anglican church.

"I have never had any difficulty with people who are gay doing things that they do in any walk of life that people who are not gay do," he told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "I have never found this is a distinction that matters to me. I personally would not have a problem with it. However, this is a matter that is for the Church of England."

The selection of openly gay cleric V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire has bitterly divided Anglicans, and conservatives are threatening to split from the faith's worldwide communion if he is consecrated next month.

Blair, a devout Anglican, said he believed that sexuality was a private matter. þSapa-AP

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