The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas has rejected gay resolutions approved by the Episcopal Church.

Last week the church lifted a three-year moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops and approved giving bishops the discretion to bless gay unions, especially in states where gay marriage or civil unions are legal. The church also decided to begin creation of an official blessing for gay unions to be considered at a later date.

“We will not consent to the election of a bishop living in a same-sex relationship, and we will not allow the blessings of same-sex relationships,” Bishop James Monte Stanton said in a letter to clergy.

Stanton, who's been married for 41 years, questioned whether the Episcopal Church – the American branch of the Anglican Communion headed by the Church of England – has the authority to decide on gay unions and clergy.

“The larger question is what it means for 'the church' to make these decisions: is it right or good, or even possible, for a congregation, a diocese, or even a province of the Universal Church to make its own way and claim to give 'the Church's blessing' – or God's?”

“The Christian faith is something we receive, not legislate,” he added.

The Anglican Communion's first rift over gay clergy came in 2003 with the decision to consecrate the first openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Robinson, 61, lives in Weare, New Hampshire with his husband.

Robinson's consecration, opposed by conservative bishops, threatened to splinter the church and eventually led to the Episcopal Church's self-imposed moratorium on gay clergy.

Several mostly African churches have broken off over the issue already. A few U.S. dioceses, including one in Fort Worth, have joined in the defection.

Stanton said the diocese would “continue to stand with the larger Church in affirming the primacy of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage and the call to holiness of life,” but stopped short of calling for an alliance with the breakaway conservative churches.