Anglican Church in US approves gay bishop
The Anglican Church in America this morning voted to confirm the appointment of an openly gay bishop, the Rev Gene Robinson.
The Episcopal Church's House of Deputies - composed of clergy and lay people - decided by a two-to-one vote majority that the Rev Robinson of New Hampshire can serve as a bishop.
"I rejoice with my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and all those working for full inclusion" of homosexuals in the church, Rev Robinson said after the vote.
Rev Robinson faces one final vote in the House of Bishops later today, but it is expected that this vote will favour Rev Robinson.
He appealed to opponents not to leave the denomination, but said he would not be responsible if they did.
"What binds us together is our faith," said the 56-year-old divorced father of two. "We should not hold any one issue above or higher than our commitment to Jesus Christ."
His partner of 13 years, Mr Mark Andrew, and Rev Robinson's daughter Ella have been by his side throughout the Episcopal General Convention. Rev Robinson's former wife has also been supportive.
The American Anglican Council, which represents conservative bishops and parishes, said it was "deeply grieved" by the results.
Bishops who believe gay sex is a sin contend that allowing Rev Robinson to serve is a tacit endorsement of ordaining homosexuals.