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Differ but stay together, says gay U.S. bishop


The first Anglican bishop to live openly in a same-sex relationship has described his consecration as a "remarkable experiment", and said it offered the worldwide Anglican Communion a chance to show that people with different experiences could coexist.

"In this global village, while we have different experiences and histories, how are we going to live together?" Bishop V. Gene Robinson said in a speech in Hong Kong on 20 October.

Robinson’s consecration in 2003 by the US Episcopal (Anglican) Church as a bishop in the state of New Hampshire triggered the ire of many Anglican leaders particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"The Episcopal Church is engaging in a remarkable experiment," stated Robinson, a divorced man who now lives with a same-sex partner. "As in the Anglican Communion, can we hold different opinions about certain hot issues without killing each other, without disrespecting each other? Can we actually stay in communion with each other while we have different opinions?" the US bishop asked. "If we can work it out, wouldn’t it be a great thing to teach the world?"

Robinson was delivering an address at Hong Kong’s City University titled, "Grace under fire – securing justice for sexual minorities". He was then due to travel on to Australia and New Zealand.

A meeting of worldwide Anglican leaders in February 2007 gave the US Episcopal Church a 30 September deadline to promise that no one living in a same-sex relationship would be made a bishop, and that the US church would not authorise rites for same-sex blessings.

The US denomination’s bishops on 25 September said they would exercise "restraint", and not consecrate openly homosexual people as bishops. They added that they would also not for the time being authorise public rites for church blessings of same-sex unions.

Responding to the decision, Robinson said that as a bishop he was not going to interfere with the authority given to priests to offer blessings. He said, "If my priests want to bless a relationship between two people who love each other and want to commit to each other, I am not going to interfere."

Ecumenical News International