First Openly Gay Bishop Gene Robinson Announces Divorce

Illustration for article titled First Openly Gay Bishop Gene Robinson Announces Divorce

Former Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson has announced that after 25 years of marriage, he and his husband Mark Andrew are getting divorced. Robinson came out in 1986, and was elected Bishop by the New Hampshire diocese in 2003—he retired last year. In a piece for the Daily Beast, Robinson details the decision and how it has affected him. He writes:

It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples. All of us sincerely intend, when we take our wedding vows, to live up to the ideal of "til death do us part." But not all of us are able to see this through until death indeed parts us.

My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate. Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot. It will take a lot of work, a lot of grieving, and a large measure of hope to see it through. And that's where my faith comes in.


Robinson's coming out in 1986 was a predictably divisive move in the Episcopal Church, and being elected bishop was no different, putting him on the receiving end of various disparaging comments and even death threats. But regardless of sexual orientation, divorce is a difficult time, so all the best to Robinson and Andrew.

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Mitch Connor

This is kinds of off topic, but is anyone out there familiar with Protestant theology?

I am obvs a-OK with couples deciding to separate and divorce, but I am also a secular person, and don't quite understand why it's cool to protestant religious folks to break a covenant that has apparently bee made before God. I'm not meaning this as a slight to Robinson — he seems like a super cool dude — I'm just coming at this from my catholic upbringing where divorced folks (well, with a few exceptions) can't get remarried in the church, which, while not something I'm practically on board with, is at least consistent with the typical Christian marriage vows ("til death do us part" which Robinson refers to as an 'ideal' rather than a 'promise'). I'm just sure this goes theologically deeper than, "because Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon..."