Episcopalians elect second gay bishop

Sun. December 6, 2009 12:00 AM by OnTopMag.com

rev. canon mary d. glasspool

Los Angeles, CA - The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles elected an openly lesbian bishop on Saturday.

The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool of Baltimore is the first openly gay bishop to be elected since the Episcopal Church lifted its moratorium on electing gay bishops in July.

Glasspool beat out four other candidates to become suffragan bishop, including a second openly gay candidate, John L. Kirkley of San Francisco, who withdrew his name after the second ballot. Suffragan bishops assist a diocese's primary bishop. On Friday, clergy and lay leaders chose the Rev. Canon Diane M. Jardine Bruce for a second bishop opening, marking the first time the diocese has elected a female to the post.

The selection of an openly gay bishop is certain to salt old wounds still tender from the election of Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, in 2003. The selection created a deep division between liberals and conservatives in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion – of which the Episcopal Church is the American branch – and led to a self-imposed moratorium on the election of gay bishops.

But at its general convention in July the church reversed course, voting in favor of lifting the ban. A move that has accelerated defections among conservatives who formed the Anglican Church in North America, a rival version of the Episcopal Church. Several churches have rejected the church's policy on gay clergy but say they will remain, including the Diocese of Central Florida and Dallas.

Rowan Williams, the head of the Church of England and the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, told Episcopalians in July that a second gay bishop would be unacceptable, warning of isolation from the mainstream Anglican community for a diocese that takes such an action.

In October, the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota became the first to include an openly gay candidate for bishop since the church reversed its policy on gay bishops. But after attracting few votes, the Rev. Bonnie Perry withdrew her name after the third ballot.

Glasspool and Bruce must be confirmed by a majority of the Episcopal Church's representatives, which include bishops, clergy and lay persons.

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