Protest & Counter-protest Over Gay Bishop

Wed. August 20, 2003 12:00 AM by

Hartford, Connecticut - A small group of demonstrators marched to Hartford's Episcopal Diocese office to protest the election of the faith's first gay bishop.

Police numbered the group at about 40.

Singing hymns, they walked in twos led by Nora Wyatt, a church elder at Mount Olive Church. Wyatt had predicted that hundreds would turn out, but said she was not concerned about an apparent lack of support.

"We are making a statement that an open gay-practicing bishop goes against the Bible," Wyatt said. "We believe that this has started a breakdown in family, the way it was originally described by the Bible."

Among the no shows was one of the area's most vocal opponents of the election of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, The Rev. Wayne Carter, chairman of the Hartford school board.

Carter caused a stir when he announced he would march in the protest. Gay-rights activists said that if he marched, he could not fairly represent gay students in the city school system. A spokesperson for Carter had no comment when asked later why his boss did not attend the demonstration.

"We are sorry that Rev. Carter does not recognize the overwhelming election of Bishop Robinson or that our children are well-served when a milestone of this type is reached," said PFLAG spokesperson Alice Leeds.

Leeds was part of a counterdemonstration that drew about 150 people. Many in the group came from other faiths and political groups. They included members of the Unitarian Church, People of Faith for Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights, and Dignity USA, which represents gay Catholics.

The group offered water and cookies to members of Wyatt's group as they arrived in front of the diocese office. Some accepted the offer, but most declined.

by Michael J. Meade Newscenter
Boston Bureau
©® 2003

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.