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First Openly Gay Episcopal Bishop to Divorce

The New York Times reported that Bishop V. Gene Robinson, whose election as the first openly homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church caused a stir, will divorce his husband Mark Andrew. Bishop Robinson caused an uproar in the Episcopal Church in 2003 when the diocese elected him. Many Episcopal parishes and churches split with the Church over the situation.

Bishop Robinson wrote an essay in The Daily Beast about the breakup and his feelings in the midst of the controversy. “It is at least a small comfort to me, 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,” Robinson wrote. “All of us sincerely intend, when we take our wedding vows, to live up to the ideal of ’til death do us part.’ But not all of us are able to see this through until death indeed parts us.”

“Most importantly, I need to hold on to the belief that God will have the last word, and that word is hope,” he continued. “If God can bring an Easter out of that awful, long-ago Good Friday, then God can bring new life to me and Mark out of the pain of our parting company. That is my faith, even if the pain of the present moment is too excruciating to envision what it might be. Mark and I will need, and welcome, the prayers of our friends and the support of our community.”

Robinson. 66, and Andrew met on vacation in St. Croix in the late 1980s. Robinson had previously been married and fathered two daughters, but in 1986 came out as gay and eventually divorced. Robinson and Andrew formalized their relationship with a civil union in 2008, and in 2011 the union automatically became a marriage with the legalization of same-sex marriage in New Hampshire.

Robinson has since retired as the head of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. He currently is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington.