In a move that took some by surprise, the Anglican Communion voted to censure its American branch, the Episcopal Church USA. At a private meeting in Canterbury, England, the home of the Anglican Communion, leaders voted Thursday (Jan. 14) to suspend the Episcopal Church from voting and decision-making for a period of three years. Details of the suspension were reported by Anglican Ink, which said they came from a leaked communique.

The move is a reaction to a string of Episcopal Church decisions stretching back to 2004 when it elected Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as a bishop. In July, the Episcopal Church voted to allow its clergy to perform same-sex marriages, something the majority of the other churches in the communion do not approve. “Given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies … ,” a statement issued by the Anglican Communion reads. “They will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.” FULL REPORT