Exactly matching the progress of marriage equality, the pace of acceptance within the wider Christian community is accelerating. When Gene Robinson was consecrated Bishop of New Hampshire back in 2003, it was a landmark event – just as the first civil unionswere in Denmark in 1989, as the first gay marriages were in the Netherlands in 2002, or in Massachusetts in 2004. For a long time these appeared to be freaks, isolated events. But in time, after some delays, the world started to catch up with the early pioneers. Today, either civil unions or full marriage equality apply across most of Europe, and just this year has made strong progress across several US states – notably Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, and DC, but also less dramatically in Nevada and elsewhere.In just the same way, for many years, Gene Robinson stood alone as the only openly gay man or lesbian to be elected as bishop of a major denomination. (There have been other openly gay bishops, but as far as I can tell were not so known at the time of election). But this year, there have been two lesbian bishops elected. In November, the Swedish Lutheran church consecrated Eva Brunne as Bishop of Stockholm. On Friday, the Episcopalians elected Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool as bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. This is important news today, but will soon be accepted as routine. The number of openly gay bishops and senior clergy will now accelerate, just as the acceptance of marriage equality is accelerating around the world.
The two processes will reinforce each other, with a parallel increase in the number of dioceses and individual local churches conducting church weddings on an exactly equal basis for all.
From the LA Times:
The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, newly elected bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, told delegates after her election that she was excited about the future of the national church. Glasspool, 55, is the first openly lesbian priest to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church.
“I’m very excited about the future of the whole Episcopal Church and I see the Diocese of Los Angeles leading the way into that future. But for just for this moment, let me say again, thank you, and thanks be to our loving and supporting God, a surprising God,” Glasspool told delegates to the diocese’s annual convention just after they elected her on the seventh balloting for one of two open suffragan, or assistant, bishop positions.
Referring to the current church season of Advent, a time of anticipation of the birth of Christ, Glasspool said, “This is my 56th Advent and I think I finally know the meaning of the word ‘wait.’ ” The delegates laughed. Glasspool is the church’s first openly gay priest to win election to the ranks of bishops since the controversial elevation of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson in 2003.
On Friday, the convention’s first day, delegates elected the Rev. Canon Diane M. Jardine Bruce, an Orange County priest, to fill the other open suffragan position in the Los Angeles diocese.
Today, as he announced the vote that gave Glasspool a majority, Los Angeles Episcopal Bishop J. Jon Bruno’s voice choked with emotion. Then he joked that someone had asked whether he could work with two women as his suffragan bishops. “I have to tell you I was born from a mother’s womb and I’ve been taking orders from women ever since,” he said, adding, “I can assure you I can work with two women.”