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Louie Crew
Ernest Clay
V. Gene Robinson
John S. Spong
David W. Virtue
Douglas LeBlanc
Isaac Ihiasota


The first (and still only) openly gay, noncelibate man to be elected bishop in a mainline Christian denomination, V. Gene Robsinson remains among the most controversial religious figures in the world. Openly denounced by conservatives when consecreated in 2003, Robinson’s status as bishop has threatened to disrupt the worldwide unity of the 70,000,000+ member Anglican Communion; in the summer of 2006, Rowan Williams, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, placed an official moratorium on any future consecrations of gay bishops, and threatened to eject The Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion should it attempt to move forward with its gay-positive mission.

Gene is the co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, has done AIDS work in the United States and in Africa (Uganda and South Africa), and has advocated for debt relief for the most world’s impoverished nations. In 2003, The Advocate named him its Man of the Year, and while he no longer wears a bulletproof vest, he continues to be a favorite target for antigay groups and religious conservatives. Many conservatives erroneously claimed that Bishop Robinson left his wife and children for his current monogamous partner, Mark Andrew; to the contrary, the divorce preceded his coming-out, and he and wife are on amicable terms. Despite his homosexuality, Bishop Robinson adheres to an otherwise orthodox Christian worldview, and believes the controversy surrounding his sexuality obscures more important social justice issues.

John S. Spong

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