NEW YORK — Episcopalians declared gays and lesbians eligible for "any ordained ministry" Tuesday, a vote expected to upset world Anglican leaders who had sought a clear moratorium on consecrating another gay bishop.
Episcopal leaders insisted they were still committed to membership in the Anglican Communion. Some Anglican leaders, however, predicted that the vote would break their fellowship.
The Episcopal Church is the Anglican province in the United States.
The Episcopal General Convention, meeting in Anaheim, Calif., gave final approval to the measure during its legislative assembly, which run through Friday.
"God has called and may call" gays in committed relationships to "any ordained ministry" in the church, the resolution says.
Lay people voted 78-21 and clergy voted 77-19 to approve the resolution. The House of Bishops earlier had voted 99-45 to adopt the statement.
Episcopalians caused an uproar in 2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Since then, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, has struggled to prevent a permanent Anglican split.
Last month breakaway Episcopal conservatives and other like-minded traditionalists formed a rival national province to the Episcopal Church called the Anglican Church in North America.
The new body includes four breakaway Episcopal dioceses and is supported by several overseas Anglican leaders who have broken ties with the Episcopal Church.
The 77 million-member communion, which includes the Episcopal Church, is the third-largest grouping of churches worldwide, behind Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches.
Williams attended the convention in its opening days last week, telling delegates, "I hope and pray that there won't be decisions in the coming days that could push us further apart."