Concord, N.H., Nov 9, 2010 / 00:56 am
Citing the toll that worldwide publicity has taken on his “marriage” and on New Hampshire Episcopalians, Gene Robinson – the first openly homosexual man to become a bishop of the Episcopal Church – announced on Nov. 6 that he will begin a two-year process of resigning from his diocese.
Robinson, 63, received approval from the Episcopal Church's General Convention to become a bishop in 2003, after the faithful and clergy of the New Hampshire diocese selected him for the position. His appointment sparked outrage among traditional Anglicans, many of whom considered it an official affront to Biblical standards of sexual conduct on the part of the Episcopal Church.
“The fact is,” he wrote in a letter to Episcopalians in his diocese, “the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you.” Robinson has two children from his marriage to a woman during the 1970s and 80s. He entered into a civil union with his current partner, Mark Andrew, in 2008.
“Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have been a constant strain,” he continued, “not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark … and in some ways, (upon) you.”