Bishop Gene Robinson
Openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson has announced that he will retire in 2013 because of the strain of ongoing opposition against him.
Robinson (63) broke new ground in 2003 when he became the first openly gay, non celibate priest to be ordained as Bishop in a major Christian denomination.
His ordination and the ongoing controversy over gay clergy has led to a schism in the global Anglican community.
“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, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years…” said Robinson at a diocesan convention on Saturday.
“While I believe that these attitudes, mostly outside the diocese, have not distracted me from my service to you, I would be less than honest if I didn’t say that they have certainly added a burden and certain anxiety to my episcopate.”
Robinson will be 67 when he retires; seven years younger than the retirement age.