The US Episcopal Church has agreed on a watered down version of a proposal rejected yesterday which would have banned the appointment of gay clergy.

The denomination’s General Convention instead last night agreed to “exercise restraint” in ordaining gay bishops, as part of an effort to amend rifts within the Anglican Church.

The resolution was a response to The 2004 Windsor Report which invited the Episcopal Church “to effect a moratorium on the election and consent to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate who is living in a same-gender union until some new consensus in the Anglican Communion emerges,” in reaction to the appointment of gay Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson in 2003.

Bishop Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina, co-chair of the Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, called the resolution “an appropriate and blessed way forward, strengthening the Episcopal Church, strengthening the Anglican Communion, without closing any doors unnecessarily.”

Bishop Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, a member of the committee, said it is “the best that we can do.

“It’s a relief to me because my hope is that we can stay in communion and continue the conversation and affirm the Windsor process.

“Having this vote in both houses says to the Anglican Communion that we are very serious about our relationship.”

Bishop Robinson expressed some disappointment with the resolution claiming it misrepresents gays and lesbians, but said it is a way forward.

However the resolution has caused discontent amongst traditionalists who still view homosexuality as a sin, the BBC claims.