Yours truly spent all Saturday afternoon tracking a bishop election 3,000 miles away because 1. the candidate is from our circulation area (Annapolis) and 2. she’s the first lesbian Episcopal bishop. There is one gay bishop already - V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire - who was elected 2003. My Glasspool story can be read here.
It was about 6 years ago last month that I flew to New Hampshire to see his consecration. There were protestors outside. The new bishop wore a bullet-proof vest. It was cold, rainy weather. People came to the microphone to protest the goings-on.
I don’t expect any of that to happen six months from now when Mary Glasspool will be consecrated May 15 in Los Angeles. 1. The weather will definitely be better; 2. most of the folks who protested in New Hampshire have long since left the Episcopal Church. The only question is which of 100 domestic Episcopal dioceses will withhold consent. A bishop-to-be needs a simple majority or 56. There’s no reason to believe it won’t happen.
As I talked with clergy from the Los Angeles diocese this week, one major factor kept on cropping up; how irrelevant Mary Glasspool’s lesbianism was to nearly all the delegates gathered at the Riverside Convention Center. More people seemed to have a problem with the fact that she wasn’t Latino and a Latino candidate nearly defeated her. He took majorities in the laity category but he could not crack the clergy vote and eventually Ms. Glasspool managed to snag enough laity - on the seventh ballot - to win.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since the Robinson election, notably that several states have legalized gay marriage since then. So the fact Ms. Glasspool has a partner of 21 years standing doesn’t seem to matter any more.
- Julia Duin, religion editor