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First openly gay Episcopal bishop to retire early

by Brad A. Greenberg

November 7, 2010 | 8:26 pm

Since being consecrated as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003, V. Gene Robinson has had a knack for making news. For example, the above video last month telling gay teens that “it gets better.”

Yesterday Robinson suggested that his time in the limelight is winding down. Or maybe not.

His announcement that he will retire in 2013 at the tender age of 66 came as a bit of a shock. But it may not be in the end of Robinson the public figure.

Via The New York Times:

The reason to depart, he said in a speech delivered at the close of the annual convention of his diocese, is that being at the center of an international uproar has taken a toll on him and on the diocese.

“Death threats, and the now worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop, have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark” and on Episcopalians in the state, he said.

But those who know Bishop Robinson say he has no intention of retiring from public life. His status as a symbol in the international gay rights movement means that after he steps down, he will have no shortage of platforms from which to preach his message that God blesses gay relationships too. (Through a spokesman, he declined interview requests.)

Bishop Robinson has become a national figure. In 2009, he gave the invocation for the opening event of the inauguration of President Obama. He also sees himself as an evangelist to people alienated from Christianity.

I wanted to write something like, So long and thanks for the schism, but Robinson was really just a cog in the Episcopal machine. He was selected to represent the growing riff over homosexuality that preceded his consecration as bishop.

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