The Right Rev. Mary Glasspool took her place in history as the first openly lesbian bishop in The Episcopal Church when she was consecrated at the Long Beach, Calif. Arena, on Saturday, May 15. More than three thousand people in attendance stood and applauded.
Bishop Glasspool follows in the footsteps of Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, who was became a bishop in 2004. Since then, The Episcopal Church faced major pushback from its mother church, the Anglican Church for ordaining Bishop Robinson and was asked to have a moratorium on the ordination gay priests and bishops. When the moratorium ended, despite threats of sanctions and attempts to realign whole dioceses with conservative jurisdictions in South American and Africa, The Episcopal Church moved ahead and voted overwhelmingly to support the full membership of LGBT people—including ordination at all levels.
Soon thereafter, the Diocese of Los Angeles nominated two openly gay priests for assistant bishop positions. In December, the diocese officially elected one of those priests, the Rev. Mary Glasspool of Maryland, and was harshly criticized by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Church. He later apologized, but it appears disingenuous since the London Times quoted Williams calling the current consecration “regrettable.”
The Rev. Susan Russell, former president of Integrity, said, “What we do here today isn’t just for this diocese but … it’s a beacon of hope to everyone looking for a community willing to lead in love, justice and compassion for all people.”
GLAAD will continue monitoring the news coverage of this historic step toward equality in the faith world to help journalist avoid the trap of talking about division when inclusion is the real topic.