The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement has received assurances from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office that he condemns the proposed anti-homosexuality bill currently before the Ugandan parliament.

The group was told by Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams’ press secretary that Williams was “very clear that the private member’s bill being discussed in Uganda as drafted is entirely unacceptable from a pastoral, moral and legal point of view”.

The press office went on to tell LGCM that the bill was “a cause of deep concern, fear and, to many, outrage”. If passed it would execute or imprison gay people.

Williams made his first public comment on the bill last week, telling the Daily Telegraph that it was “shocking” and could not be supported by any Anglican committed to the Communion.

Previously, he would not comment beyond a statement from Lambeth Palace saying that he was in “intensive but private” discussions with the Ugandan Anglican Church.

His office assured LGCM that he had been “working intensively behind the scenes over the past weeks to ensure that there is clarity on how the proposed bill is contrary to Anglican teaching.”

Rev Sharon Ferguson, chair of the LGCM, said: “I only hope and pray that Archbishop Rowan Williams will now instruct all Anglican clergy in Uganda to speak out against this bill and to take whatever action is needed to safeguard the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”

Williams was criticised for quickly condemning the election of Los Angeles lesbian bishop Mary Glasspool but being slow to make a public comment on Uganda’s bill.

Among those to speak out publicly before he did was Rick Warren, the controversial US evangelical pastor who does not believe in gay equality.