Religion in Society

Episcopal Church Approves First Partnered, Openly Lesbian Bishop

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WASHINGTON -- A controversial candidate for bishop in the U.S. Episcopal Church has received the necessary approval, according to the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. Following her December election, the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool of Baltimore needed to obtain consent from a majority of bishops and diocesan standing committees.

Glasspool will become the first partnered openly lesbian bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion if she is installed as scheduled on May 15.

After the partnered openly homosexual Gene Robinson was installed as Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, bodies of the worldwide Anglican Communion warned the Episcopal Church not to repeat the action. It observed a moratorium on consecration of non-celibate homosexual bishops for a time, but lifted the moratorium at last year's General Convention.

Jeff Walton, Director of IRD's Anglican Action Program, commented:

"Glasspool's election is unfortunate because she has unapologetically taken sexual expression outside of the God-ordained boundary of Holy Matrimony. In the view of the wider Anglican Communion, this practice makes her unqualified to serve in the role of a bishop.

"Glasspool's election is the next step in the Episcopal Church's liberalizing trajectory. After revoking a moratorium on the consecration of non-celibate homosexual bishops during its July General Convention, the denomination made clear that it was going to proceed on this route, despite protests from other Anglicans.

"Consent to Glasspool's election by the Episcopal Church shows how little the U.S.-based denomination cares about what other parts of the global Anglican Communion believe.

"The majority of the Episcopal Church is increasingly practicing a separate faith than what most worldwide Anglicans practice.

"Glasspool's election and consecration comes at the same time as the Episcopal Church reports steep declines in attendance. Interestingly, the traditionalist Anglican Church in North America (AC-NA) has added 100 new congregations since July."