(Photo: Reuters/Andrew Winning)
Gene Robinson, retired Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire and the first openly gay priest elected as a bishop in a major Christian organization, announced this past weekend that he is divorcing Mark, his partner of 25 years.
Robinson first revealed his decision in an email to the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire on Saturday.
"It is time to share with you, our diocesan family, that my partner and husband of 25+ years, Mark, and I have decided to be divorced. As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us – not a decision entered into lightly or without much counseling. I'm sure that you will understand the private nature of this change in our lives and our commitment to keeping those details appropriately private," said Robinson in the note.
"Our life and ministry among you continues to be something that both of us count as an honor and blessing.
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," he explained.
The retired bishop, who is now a senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., elaborated on his decision in the Daily Beast on Sunday, explaining he does not know if the path he is taking is right or wrong. He said, however, that he had faith that if God could bring salvation from the crucifixion of Christ, something good will come from his divorce from Mark.
"While I would never remotely compare myself to Jesus, I do know that I too have to move forward without knowing whether the steps I am taking are in the right or wrong direction. I too need to take care of relationships, in the midst of my own pain. (No, it's not all about me.) And I need to be an active participant in my own destiny," he said.
"Most importantly, I need to hold on to the belief that God will have the last word, and that word is hope. If God can bring an Easter out of that awful, long-ago Good Friday, then God can bring new life to me and Mark out of the pain of our parting company," he noted. "That is my faith, even if the pain of the present moment is too excruciating to envision what it might be. Mark and I will need, and welcome, the prayers of our friends and the support of our community."