The issue of gay marriage is threatening to split apart the Anglican Communion ahead of an important summit in Canterbury in England next week, with African and Asian leaders threatening to walk out on Archbishop Justin Welby.

Mail Online reported that Welby is preparing for a "make of break" effort at the summit in order to keep the Anglican churches together despite disagreements over homosexuality.

Although Welby and the Church of England have remained opposed to the legalization of gay marriage, a number of bishops within the Anglican Communion, including American church leaders as part of the Episcopal tradition, have backed the practice.

This has drawn deep discontent from more conservative African and Asian bishops, who remain strongly opposed to any approval of same-sex unions.

The publication claimed that insiders believe eight to 12 conservative archbishops are even planning to walk out of the meeting, unless their most liberal counterparts agree to "repent" for their support of gay marriage.

The Archbishops of Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda had reportedly even threatened to boycott the upcoming meeting altogether, but have apparently been persuaded by colleagues to attend and listen to Welby's plan to keep the peace.

"The Archbishop has invited everyone. If people walk out that will be viewed with disappointment rather than anger, and the door will always be open," the Church of England has said about the meeting.

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