First gay Episcopal bishop consecrated

Nov. 2, 2003 at 9:01 PM

DURHAM, N.H., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Rev. Gene Robinson was consecrated Sunday as Episcopal bishop of the New Hampshire Diocese, making him the first openly gay leader in Christianity.

"You cannot imagine what an honor it is for you to have called me," Robinson said afterward, on the verge of crying, CNN reported.

He also noted many people in the church were in "great pain" because of his promotion. There were only a handful of demonstrators outside the University of New Hampshire sports arena where the consecration was held, CNN said.

Robinson's selection angered church conservatives, who believe homosexuality violates Christian teaching.

The archbishop of Canterbury, Rev. Rowan Williams, issued a statement Sunday night warning Robinson's consecration would have "very serious consequences."

Robinson, however, has compared the current turmoil to the furor over women, who are not allowed to be priests in a vast majority of Anglican dioceses around the world.

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