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The totals swung back and forth, and by the end of the fourth ballot, Mr. Vasquez had won 209 laity votes, enough to put him over the top. But he could not rise above 107 clergy votes. By the sixth ballot early in the afternoon, Ms. Glasspool started gaining among laity, and the seventh ballot put her over the top.

Ms. Glasspool, who was nominated as one of six candidates back in August, cited her experience as a canon priest assisting Maryland Bishop Eugene T. Sutton as a major qualification for the job.

She also was forthright about her homosexuality, saying she had been with Ms. Sander since 1988.

“I have been touched and changed the most by issues of gender equity and the status of gay and lesbian people in the church and society,” she wrote in her biography, posted on the Los Angeles diocesan Web site. “Yet I am not a ‘single issue’ person, and I preach passionately about peace-making, reconciliation, the need to battle the evils of racism and overcome extreme poverty.”

Conservative Anglicans rued Saturday’s election, pointing out that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Communion, begged Episcopalians this past summer not to elect more gay bishops.

“It’s very divisive in its implications,” said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian to the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. “It’s the persistent pursuit of an unbiblical practice. It will add further to the Episcopal Church’s incoherent witness and chaotic common life, and it will continue to do damage to the Anglican Common and her relationship with our ecumenical partners.”

Robert Lundy of the American Anglican Council said the election provided “clarity” into the direction of the Episcopal Church.

“They are walking away from 2,000 years of Christian tradition,” he said.

The daughter of an Episcopal priest, Ms. Glasspool was born in Staten Island, N.Y., and began looking into becoming a priest during the mid-1970s when Episcopal women were just starting to be ordained. That was also the time, she wrote in her biography, when she decided she was a lesbian.

Although her father opposed women in the priesthood, Ms. Glasspool entered the Episcopal Divinity School, the most liberal of the church’s seminaries, in 1976. She was ordained in 1981, working in churches in Philadelphia and Boston and at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Annapolis from 1992 to 2001. For the past eight years, she has been on staff at the Baltimore-based Diocese of Maryland, visiting a different church every week.