Background: First Openly Gay Bishop
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RAY SUAREZ: Now, the Episcopal Church, and the wider religious debate over homosexuality. Margaret Warner has that.
MARGARET WARNER: It was a dramatic and divisive vote last night, that will make Gene Robinson the first openly gay bishop in the 2.3 million member Episcopal Church. The decision was greeted with joy and a call for conciliation in some quarters, anger and threats of a split in others. Here’s some of what Bishop Robinson and a leading opponent, Bishop Robert Duncan, had to say:
BISHOP-ELECT GENE ROBINSON: I believe god is doing a new thing. It’s popping up all over in England and Canada, in this country, certainly with the Supreme Court decision of late and now this election. I think we’re seeing the moving into a kind of mature adulthood of the full inclusion of gay and lesbian folk in the culture and certainly in the church. I’m proud to be a tiny, tiny part of that. I think we are learning God’s will through this.
The spirit did not stop acting on the Church when they closed scripture. We worship a living God. That living God leads us into truth. This is the only thing that makes this not a completely joyous day for me: The fact of my consent going through causing pain and difficulty for a good number of people in our communion and in our churches.
BISHOP ROBERT DUNCAN: The bishops who stand before you are filled with sorrow – this body willfully confirming the election of a person sexually active outside of holy matrimony has departed from the historic faith and order of the Church of Jesus Christ. This body has denied a plain teaching of scripture and the moral consensus of the Church throughout the ages.
This body has divided itself from millions of Anglican Christians around the world, brothers and sisters who have pleaded with us to maintain the church’s traditional teaching on marriage and sexuality.