AS we are reporting today, the Anglican Church has officially allowed its clergy to "bless" same-sex civil unions, without forcing dissenting priests to act against their beliefs.
The decision has been welcomed by many, but there are conservative forces within the church that are decidedly hostile to the idea.
As often happens at such moments, there is talk of a "split" among Anglican ranks.
These suggestions cannot be dismissed, if only because the history of the Christian church contains a catalogue of arguments and divisions over what is permitted through faith in Jesus Christ, and what is heresy.
The "great schism", as it is often called, saw the Eastern Orthodox church split with Rome in 1054, over a number of issues.
One was the marriage of priests; acceptable in the Orthodox church, but unavailable to Catholic clergy in the pursuit of celibacy.
The Church of England only broke with Rome in 1534 over the messy love life of Henry VIII, who had been unable to gain a marriage annulment from the pope of the day.
In other words, the church has always wrestled with questions of desire, love and sexuality, perhaps more so now than ever, with much of the Western secular world in the midst of a major change - if not an outright revolution - when it comes to sexual and gender orientations.
This diversity of sexual expression is not universally welcomed, but the dominoes are falling in many countries.
The American Episcopal church's consecration of its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003, pictured here, was a key church moment.
In Australia, same-sex marriage was legalised in 2017 after a 61 per cent "yes" vote in the Turnbull government's optional survey, coincidentally the same level of support Newcastle Bishop Peter Stuart says was recorded at last year's diocesan Synod.
A quick Google search reveals ample heartfelt Anglican opinion on the subject. Conservative theologians find supporting biblical quotes in both Testaments to buttress their views.
Bishop Stuart says he knows some may never accept what their church has done, but when speaking with the Newcastle Herald on Sunday he cited St Paul's Letter to the Galatians, 3:28, as justification: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
The debate, as he knows, will continue.
IN THE NEWS: