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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 August, 2003, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Proud bishop makes history
Gene Robinson
There has been deep hostility - particularly in Africa - to Robinson's selection
In the face of bitter division, Anglican leaders have confirmed the selection of the openly gay Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. He spoke to the BBC's Emma Simpson.

"Yesterday was a very difficult day, but an important day.

"Because of the allegations that had been made against me, we urged everyone involved to investigate before we moved forward.

"The [current] Bishop of New Hampshire and myself, neither of us wanted to let this vote go forward until this was thoroughly investigated and resolved, and thankfully we were able to resolve that and move forward, and then it's wonderful to have the result that we have today."

What do you think your confirmation means?

"It means the people of the diocese of New Hampshire will get the Bishop that they have called to be their own.

"In the Episcopal Church, unlike the Church of England, of course, it is an election by the clergy and laity of the diocese, it's not an appointment, so there were people in New Hampshire who were glued to their TV sets and radios listening for this result, and I think they will be overjoyed with this.

"I think there is also a broader meaning in terms of the inclusion of gay and lesbian folk in the life of the church."

This whole process was almost derailed by allegations of improper behaviour. What was your reaction when you heard this?

"Well, I was shocked, of course, because I knew that none of it was true.

The actual behaviour that was being alleged was something I do nearly every day... If we were sitting closer together I might in fact touch your arm, or whatever, I just happen to be that kind of a person
Gene Robinson
"The initial understanding of the allegations sounded very terrible, and I just couldn't imagine where these had come from.

"Then when it was investigated [it became apparent] the actual behaviour that was being alleged was something I do nearly every day, which is when I'm talking to someone and I'm listening to them, like I'm listening to you, if we were sitting closer together I might in fact touch your arm, or whatever, I just happen to be that kind of a person.

"I'm terribly sorry that this person had been made to feel uncomfortable by that, but on the other hand I was certainly relieved when I heard that that's what he was talking about and not alleging something more grim."

Do you think you've made history today?

"People seem to be saying so.

"That's not why I'm doing this, I'm doing it because I feel a call to be the bishop of the people of New Hampshire, and that's what I'm really interested in, but if I've made a bit of history along the way then I'll be proud of that."


SEE ALSO:
US Church approves gay bishop
04 Aug 03  |  Americas
Gay showdown for US Church
30 Jul 03  |  Americas
US gay bishop asks for blessing
19 Jul 03  |  Americas
Priest's treatment 'homophobic'
26 Jul 03  |  Berkshire
US gay bishop row: Your views
04 Aug 03  |  Have Your Say


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