First openly gay Episcopal bishop to divorce husband

Bishop Gene Robinson, now retired, ends 25-year relationship
Associated Press
May 5, 2014

The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, who became a symbol for gay rights far beyond the church while deeply dividing the world's Anglicans, plans to divorce his husband.

Bishop Gene Robinson announced the end of his marriage to Mark Andrew in an email sent to the Diocese of New Hampshire, where he served for nine years before retiring in 2012.

Robinson would not disclose details about the end of their 25-year relationship but wrote Sunday in The Daily Beast he owed a debt to Andrew "for standing by me through the challenges of the last decade."

"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."

Robinson declined to comment further Sunday to The Associated Press.

Robinson has never been fully accepted within the more than 70 million-member Anglican Communion, which is rooted in the Church of England and represented in the United States by the Episcopal Church.

The bishop endured death threats during his 2003 consecration and intense scrutiny of his personal life, and in 2006, he sought treatment for alcoholism. His election prompted some Episcopal dioceses and parishes to break away and establish the Anglican Church in North America with other theological conservatives overseas. Robinson was barred in 2008 by then-Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams from the Lambeth Conference, the once-a-decade global meeting of all Anglican bishops, as Williams struggled to find a way to keep Anglicans united.

But Robinson was also widely celebrated as a pioneer for gay rights, became an advocate for gay marriage and was the subject of several books and a documentary about Christianity, the Bible and same-sex relationships. He delivered the benediction at the opening 2009 inaugural event for President Barack Obama and, after retirement, became a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank with close ties to the White House.

Robinson, 66, had been married to a woman and had two children before he and his wife divorced. He and Andrew had been partners for more than a decade when Robinson was elected to lead the New Hampshire Diocese. The two men were joined in a 2008 civil union in New Hampshire, which became a legal marriage when the state recognized gay marriage two years later.

"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," Robinson wrote. "Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot."

A spokeswoman for Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori referred requests for comment to the Diocese of New Hampshire. A spokeswoman for current New Hampshire Bishop Rob Hirschfeld cited an email he sent to local clergy and wardens urging prayer for Robinson and Andrew.

Robert Lundy, a spokesman for the American Anglican Council, a fellowship for theological conservatives, said the argument against gay marriage is based on the Bible and will not be helped or hurt by the dissolution of any one marriage.

"The teaching of the Bible and the Anglican Communion is very clear that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life," Lundy said in a phone interview.

The Rev. Susan Russell, an Episcopal gay rights leader in the Diocese of Los Angeles who preached at Robinson and Andrew's union, said the end of the men's marriage was tragic, but Robinson would remain an "icon of a faithful Christian man living out his vocation, not by his choice, but by his placement in history."

"Of course, he'll get some slings and arrows," Russell said in a phone interview. "But the paradigm has shifted so dramatically that people more and more get that our marriages are no different than anyone else's marriages, and that includes the reality that some of them fail, no matter our dreams and hopes."

 

Comments

thinkagain

They were never married in the first place. Just two godless men working that which is unseemly.

stayfit

Does being homophobic progress your life in any way?

Puppyhead

Thoughts such as yours, thinkagain, are so very frightening and incredibly pathetic.

Nemesis

Why?

observer

Thinkagain is absolutely correct, and just because you don't like it doesn't change that fact. Political correctness is what's incredibly pathetic. The majority of Americans are sick of this being shoved down our throats.

downthemiddle

You said a mouthful....

yea right

dear nonobserver 40 yrs ago you would be sick of women wanting the same job men have..50 yrs ago blacks want to drink white ppls water..75 yrs ago it was women wanting to vote..(seems like women complain more..lol) 200 plus yrs ago men wanted to be "free" to choose I see a patern here, do you?? the "LIFESTYLE" wants to be recongnized too..

themomx6

Dear yea wrong

I am against all the above too. Those were wrongs against people.

Your analogy is ridiculous.
In a hundred years, will those "oppressed people" who want to have sex with children or animals be using your same argument to get their perversions accepted? Why not? It's a "LIFESTYLE". They just want to be accepted.

The "common sense" (stupidity) of 21st century America is shocking. Thank you, liberals.

grumpy

You are in possession of a wayback machine and you took thinkagain back and saw him do such things? If not then all you have is guessing what he would have done. Sorry but your statements have no basis in truth.

Now if you had said he probably would have. I would have no complaint about what you said... but since you stated them the way you did you have no backup for your statements, other than guesses.

paws4thought

Gay people have had and do have the freedom to "choose" their lifestyle. Nothing is stopping them from that. What I am TOTALLY against is recognizing their "union" as a marriage. That is going too far. The "news" that a gay couple is "getting divorced" is non-news to me.

yea right

i tell you what.. since you hate Gays that much then STOP supporting them.. you do this everyday of your pathetic life.. when you go to the store did you know that cashier is gay or the stock person .. how bout the truck driver or the person who mad the stuff your buying..how bout the contractor that added on to your house..

you ppl hate gays that much then strip your buts naked and go out into the woods and live..wow what a bunch of hippocrates

paws4thought

I can see intelligent thought or the ability to reason are things that don't come easily to you, so I will put this in a way that hopefully even you can understand. I don't believe anyone said anything about hating gays - though I do understand accusing others is your first line of defense - I just am against "gay marriage." By the way, the word you were groping for is "hypocrites."

yea right

so i cant spell at times..as for you well the ignorance of being against gay marriage..well have fun in hell..and trust me when i say this "I am the better person cuz ppl like you.. i just ignore.."

JACKEL

Yea , I agree if that congressman want to marry his sheep, so be it. You Libs will draw the line at nothing ! Sodom and Gomorrah and are just a few generations away !

stayfit

So when you see a t.v. show on a straight married couple, could the inverse be considered that heterosexual relationships are being shoved the down the throats of the 10 percent.

Sorry you have so much lack of acceptance in your heart for people that have done nothing to you and are just trying to live a life in pursuit of happiness that is guaranteed to them in the U.S. Constitution without interference of religion.

Just wait, 20 years from now, the future generations will see people outside of the heterosexual norm as part of the norm.

paws4thought

Your argument does not hold water and is nothing more than a rant of feelings and condemnation of people who express their beliefs. As for your crystal ball that looks into the future, I would use some Windex on it as I don't think it's showing you reality.

fotobug

Thinkagain was saying what God's Word says. Like it or not God's Word is the final judgement......not any of us.

And furthermore, why would anyone tell me about their sex life? It's none of my business and I'm NOT interested nor will I judge you.

stayfit

Like it or not, the U.S. Constitution provides the humans the right to live without interference of religion.

God's Word is a special spiritual bond for those that believe. Whether that belief is the Christian God, Islamic God or any other God.

The final judgement is only real to those who believe it as such. No one knows for sure what the afterlife will bring, and even those that claim it cannot prove it other than first-hand accounts of faith.

As important as faith is to those that believe, it cannot be used anywhere outside of a religious organization.

Interestingly enough, "under God" was not added to the Pledge of Allegiance until the 1950's.

What "God" means to every person varies from person to person and is a very personal relationship.

The problem with the thoughts of Thinkagain is not what he or she believes or even that he expresses his right to freedom of speech. It is that he commands authority from religion as absolute truth. If someone does not share in the faith of the Christian God, that truth is not a truth at all to the nonbeliever or believer of something different.

Saying I believe homosexuality is wrong because I believe in Christianity... is different from condemning someone and stating God as ultimate authority as a crutch for homophobia and exclusion.

thinkagain

I only speak the truth that I have received from the Creator of the Universe. If you have a problem with His commands, you can take it up with Him when you meet Him. Good luck with that…

Nemesis

"The problem with the thoughts of Thinkagain is not what he or she believes or even that he expresses his right to freedom of speech. It is that he commands authority from religion as absolute truth. If someone does not share in the faith of the Christian God, that truth is not a truth at all to the nonbeliever or believer of something different."

And that's no problem until he starts trying to coerce others into accepting or living by that belief. In this particular discussion thread at least, he hasn't done so.

"Saying I believe homosexuality is wrong because I believe in Christianity... is different from condemning someone and stating God as ultimate authority as a crutch for homophobia and exclusion."

The only difference is an objective statement of what he believes and your biased interpretation of it. The difference between you and Thinkagain on this is actually very small. ALL reasonable people assert a boundary between morally acceptable and unacceptable sexual behavior (unless you believe that kids, animals, and unconsenting rape victims are suitable partners.) Some draw the boundary very restrictively, and some more loosely. All Thinkagain is asserting here is that the boundary is slightly further toward the restrictive end of that broad spectrum than you think it is, and a completely secular existential case can be made for his assertion.

Granted, Thinkagain often says things that are an embarassment to those of us who may agree with him on some issues, but in this particular discussion, he's not said anything unreasonable. There are times when his comments are problematic, but this is not one of them, and when they are, it is not because of the reasons you claim.

thinkagain

If you were born of the Spirit and guided only by His truth, my comments would not be problematic for you.

Nemesis

And there you go again. You make a lot of assumptions.

Maybe if you had the particular gifts of the Spirit that you think you do, your comments would be less problematic.

thinkagain

I do have the gift of diakrisis, that is how I know your words are false teachings from the flesh.

Nemesis

The same way you "know" I'm a drug user, as you've claimed on multiple occassions? You'd be amusing if you weren't driving so many people away from the truth you think yourself so qualified to share in this venue.

thinkagain

You on the other hand, I find quite amusing, despite your same old boring inanities.

Nemesis

Those "boring inanities" consisted of actually taking your side and defending your comment, but hey, but that also went sailing over your head.

downthemiddle

Sooner or later the homosexuals tire of their cavort..

downthemiddle

It would be interesting to know if the "wife surrogate" is doing the divorcing... that sorta stands to reason.

bnjjad

Contrary to popular belief, their is not always (no, this does not apply to all) a "wife surrogate" in a gay relationship.

downthemiddle

Nonetheless, being on the receiving end WOULD become tiresome.

Only the STUPIDEST compliant homosexual men could live the role for an extended period.

Imagine how low a persons' self esteem would have to be....

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