A new controversy hit the Anglican Church yesterday after the diocese of California include a gay man and a lesbian in a shortlist for its next bishop.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the move will please liberals but trouble the Archbishop Of Canterbury who has previously supported calls for a suspension of the appointment of gay bishops.

The two bishops are the Very Rev Robert Taylor, the dean of St Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, and the Rev Bonnie Taylor, the rector of All Saints church, Chicago.

If either is elected, they would follow Gene Robinson, whose 2003 consecration as Bishop of New Hampshire brought the Church to the brink of a split.

Observers said that California may choose a less divisive choice now that its shortlist has displayed the diocese’s radical thinking.