London, Aug 7 : Gay relationships are 'comparable to marriage' in the eyes of God, says the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In a private correspondence before he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams refuted the Anglican Communion's traditional teaching that homosexuality is sinful.
He also expressed his hope that the Church will change its position to be more accepting of gay partnerships.
"The Bible does not address the matter of appropriate behaviour for those who are, for whatever reason, homosexual by instinct or nature," the Telegraph quoted Williams, as stating in the letters.
"By the end of the 80s I had definitely come to the conclusion that scripture was not dealing with the predicament of persons whom we should recognise as homosexual by nature.
"I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had the about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness," he added.
Williams was known to have liberal views on the issue of homosexuality when he was appointed as archbishop in 2002, but since moving to Canterbury he has tried to hold a traditional line for the sake of unity in the Church.
However, he makes clear in the letter that he believes that the Church could relax its strict teaching with time.
"The Church has shifted its stance on several matters - notably the rightness of lending money at interest and the moral admissibility of contraception so I am bound to ask if this is another such issue," he said.
"If I am really seriously wrong on this, I can only pray to be shown the truth," he added.
Williams has criticized those who have politicised the issue, "treating it as the sole or primary marker of Christian orthodoxy".