At its General Convention last month, TEC added to the strain in relations between orthodox and liberal Anglicans by passing resolution D025, which affirms that gays and lesbians are also called by God to “any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church”.
The nominations come despite assurances from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori that D025 was more “descriptive than prescriptive” and that TEC was not turning its back on a Communion-wide moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops.
The Anglican Communion’s 77 million members have struggled to remain united since TEC consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003.
Dr Rowan Williams recently said he regretted that “there is no will” in TEC to observe the moratorium but suggested a two-tier Communion to maintain unity.
"It helps to be clear about these possible futures, however much we think them less than ideal, and to speak about them not in apocalyptic terms of schism and excommunication but plainly as what they are - two styles of being Anglican, whose mutual relation will certainly need working out," Dr Williams wrote in a statement to leaders across the Communion.
David Virtue, of orthodox Anglican website Virtue Online, warned that the latest nominations would “further inflame the Anglican Communion’s orthodox believers.
He said: “It confirms in their minds that The Episcopal Church intends to show no restraint whatever … Fissures in the Anglican Communion will only deepen further if either diocese elects a non-celibate gay or lesbian to the episcopacy.”