The consequences of Rowan Williams' campaign to appease his enemies will be felt primarily by Williams himself, and by others charged with speaking on behalf of the Church. They will find that while the faithful at home may find ways to accommodate themselves to legislation they oppose, the wider public will be less willing to take moral instruction from a church that embraces double standards in its treatment of women and makes common cause with African prelates who do not believe that the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights should pertain to gay people.
It isn't clear that Williams or other Church leaders understand how thoroughly this undermines their credibility nationally and internationally, or how wide a gulf it opens between themselves and the English public. It isn't evident that they grasp the impossibility of speaking truth to power when one has so clearly capitulated to the power one's self.
In the struggle over female bishops and same-sex relationships, Williams and the bishops who are loyal to him have cast their lot not simply with high profile African church leaders, but with the reactionary American culture warriors who finance their activities. This latter group is composed of men whose politics Williams purports to abhor. Yet within the Anglican Communion, the former self-described "hairy lefty" makes common cause with the Institute for Religion and Democracy, an organization founded to oppose the spread of liberation theology and give religious cover to Ronald Reagan's proxy wars in Central America. The scholar who tours the world lecturing on interfaith understanding is an ally in Communion politics with virulent anti-Islamic firebrands affiliated with the North American branch of the Church of Nigeria. The prophet of the sustainable economy cooperates with men who deny that human activity contributes to climate change to deny gays, lesbians and women their full Christian dignity.
One can just barely imagine a case in which an individual sacrifices all other principles for the sake of a single transcendent cause. Rowan Williams is sacrificing his ability to speak on the most urgent issues of our day in order to create a church within a church for people who don't think women should be priests, and a means by which the most regressive leaders in the Anglican Communion can punish their counterparts for repenting of historic sins.