First openly gay US Episcopal bishop divorces from long-time partner

The world’s first openly gay Episcopal bishop has announced his divorce from his long time partner.

Bishop Gene Robinson’s election in 2003 shocked the worldwide Anglican communion.

After entering into a civil union with his partner of 25 years Mark Andrews in 2008, Bishop Robinson announced the split in May this year, the Religion News Service reports.

“As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us — not a decision entered into lightly or without much counselling,” Bishop Robinson wrote in a letter.

“My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate,” Bishop Robinson wrote in a column for the Daily Beast.

“Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot.”

But he wrote it is a comfort “as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples”.

Due to changes in New Hampshire laws on same-sex marriage, Bishop Robinson became legally married to his partner when they didn’t opt out of the change in state law.

In 2003, hundreds of people left the Episcopal Church in protest at Bishop Robinson’s consecration.

Critics said Robinson’s actions defied scriptural authority and thousands of years of Christian tradition.

His divorce could fuel the fire, said Douglas LeBlanc, an Episcopalian and former editor at Christianity Today.

“I’m sure there might be some conservatives who might say, ‘We told you so all along, if you depart from church teachings on homosexuality, you’re opening the door to all kinds of chaos,’” LeBlanc said.

“In many ways, I think you are. But I think it’s imperative to say, the [Episcopal Church’s] house of bishops is not lacking on heterosexual sin.”

In 2012, the Episcopal Church voted to allow bishops to permit priests to bless same-sex marriages.

Bishop Robinson retired as Bishop of New Hampshire last year.

He went public with his sexual identity and divorce from his wife in 1986.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,