The Right Reverend GENE ROBINSON was born on this date. He was the ninth bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Robinson was elected bishop in 2003 and entered office on March 7, 2004. Prior to becoming bishop, he served as assistant to the retiring New Hampshire bishop. Robinson is best known for being the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in any Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate. His homosexual feelings were privately acknowledged in the 1970s, when he studied in seminary, was ordained, married, and started a family.
He went public with his sexual identity and divorced in the 1980s. His story has appeared in print and film. In 2011 his memoir “In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God” was released. He announced his intention to retire in 2013, at 65. His successor is A. Robert Hirschfeld, who was elected bishop coadjutor on May 19, 2012 and consecrated bishop in Concord, New Hampshire on August 4, 2012. Hirschfeld served with Robinson until Robinson’s formal retirement on January 5, 2013. Robinson and his partner of twenty-five years were married in a private ceremony in 2008. But Robinson announced in 2015 that he and his husband would be seeking a divorce. The announcement was made public in a statement to the Diocese of New Hampshire.
“As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us — not a decision entered into lightly or without much counseling,” Robinson wrote in a letter. “We ask for your prayers, that the love and care for each other that has characterized our relationship for a quarter century will continue in the difficult days ahead.”