Gay marriage has strengthened Canadian society, a visiting Anglican leader says.

The Very Rev Dr Peter Elliott, Rector of Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Vancouver, preached in St Paul's Cathedral in Dunedin yesterday.

His visit is part of the Anglican Consultative Council underway in Auckland.

Dr Elliott, who is gay, said that while he did not believe in commenting on a country's domestic politics, legalising gay marriage had increased respect and tolerance in Canada.


A private member's bill to legalise same-sex marriage in New Zealand passed its first reading in Parliament in August.

Dr Elliott said his sexual orientation was not a major issue, except to a small number of people for whom it raised questions.

Dr Elliott is the author of Faith, Vocation and Intimacy: My Journey from Secrecy to Openness.

Speaking to parishioners in a special session after the service, Dr Elliott said he was impressed by the cultural diversity of the New Zealand Anglican Church.

He surmised a lack of tension at this year's council meeting might be a consequence of its setting in New Zealand, where differences and diversity seemed to be accepted.

Asked how well Canadian Anglicans worked with other faiths, Dr Elliott said two big rallying points were homelessness and opposition to gambling.

Held every three years, the ACC is one of the four "instruments of communion" providing a focal point for Anglicans. It runs from October 27 - November 7.