Royal Watch News
Queen Elizabeth's letters of support
Jul 6, 2009, 11:00 GMT
Britain's Queen Elizabeth has been "supportive" of concerns which have angered homosexuality campaigners.
The 83-year-old monarch - who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England - has written letters to leaders at the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) to say she can appreciate their concerns about the future of the church.
One leading evangelical said: "We found the letters very supportive."
The controversial group came under fire at the weekend when senior religious figure, the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali was accused of being homophobic by calling on homosexuals to repent.
He said the Church of England must refuse to recognise same-sex marriages and ensure the religion holds its long-established beliefs.
He told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper: "We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don't want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church."
Veteran gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is furious about the statement.
He said: "Homophobia is a social and moral evil, just like racism. Bigotry, even in the guise of religion, has no place in a compassionate, caring society.
"I call on the Bishop to repent his homophobia. His prejudice goes against Christ's gospel of love and compassion."
Last year, leaders from the FCA wrote to the queen to assure her of their loyalty to the church.
A reply on their behalf said she acknowledged and understood their concerns over the future of the 80 million-strong church.
They wrote again recently and the queen replied, wishing them well with the launch of a new alliance of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes in Britain and Ireland in London today.