Retired Bishop Gene Robinson made strides when he came out as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican church. Leading by example, Robinson solidified the message that love is love. In 2008 he entered into a civil union with longtime partner Mark Andrew and two years later, the union converted to marriage when the state of New Hampshire legalized gay marriage in 2010. Love, however, does have obstacles. On Sunday Robinson announced the marriage to Andrews is ending.
The nation's first openly gay bishop made the announcement in an email to the Diocese of New Hampshire which was also published on The Daily Beast website. Robinson writes, "Recently, my partner and husband of 25-plus years and I decided to get divorced. While the details of our situation will remain appropriately private, I am seeking to be as open and honest in the midst of this decision as I have been in other dramatic moments of my life."
In the letter, Robinson refers to his decision to come out back in 1986 and the journey love has taken him in his life and in his decisions. He also referred to the challenge he accepted by becoming Christendom's first openly gay priest to be elected a Bishop. He recognized Mark's role in his life as a person who has stood by his side and journeyed with him on the path he took in his life. Robinson describe his partner and husband of 25-plus years as "one of the kindest, most generous and loyal human beings on earth." But like any couple, gay or straight, they faced challenges and made mistakes in their relationship that brought them both to this decision.
"I know this flies in the fast of the common practice of regarding one party in a divorce as the bad guy and one the good guy," Robinson writes. "The fact remains that it takes two people to make a divorce. The reasons for ending a marriage fall on the shoulders of both parties: the missed opportunities for saying and doing the things that might have made a difference, the roads not taken, the disappointments endured but not confronted."
As a champion and advocate of gay rights and marriage equality, Robinson doesn't cite his own marriage as a failure, but as a recognition and realization that "gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples." Gene Robinson was elected as the first openly gay bishop in 2003. The election created an international uproar and caused a separation between conservative Episcopalians and the main church in the United States. The full letter can be read here.