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Gene Robinson & Mark Andrew

Vicky Gene Robinson (born May 29, 1947 in Fayette County, Kentucky) is an American retired bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Robinson was elected bishop coadjutor in 2003 and succeeded as diocesan bishop in March 2004, becoming the first openly gay, non-celibate Episcopal bishop. Before becoming bishop, he served as Canon to the Ordinary to the VIII Bishop of New Hampshire.

Robinson is featured prominently in the 2007 documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So." In 2008 he spent several weeks in the UK where he was the only bishop excluded from participating in the Lambeth conference, an important meeting hosted by the Archibishop of Canterbury every ten years. Presumably Robinson's partner of over twenty years, Mark Andrew, would not have been permitted to join the concurrent Spouses' Conference hosted by the Archibishop's wife.

Robinson is widely known for being the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate. His sexual orientation was privately acknowledged in the 1970s, when he studied in seminary, was ordained, married, and started a family. He went public with his sexual identity and divorced in 1986. He entered a formal relationship with his current spouse in 1988. When delegates to the Episcopal convention were voting on the ratification of his election, it became an issue of controversy. His election was ratified 62 to 45. After his election, many theologically conservative Episcopalians in the United States have aligned themselves with bishops outside the Episcopal Church in the United States, a process called the Anglican realignment. His story has appeared in print and film.

In November 1987, Gene Robinson, now a retired bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church, met his partner, Mark Andrew, while on vacation in St. Croix. On July 2, 1988, Robinson and Andrew moved into a new house and had it blessed by Bishop Douglas Theuner, an event which they considered to be the formal recognition of their life together. They were legally joined in June 2008 in a private civil union ceremony, followed by a religious ceremony, both in St Paul's Church, Concord. Robinson and Andrew ended their union in 2014.

In 2009 he was given the Stephen F. Kolzak Media Award. He has announced his intention to retire in 2013, at 65. His successor is A. Robert Hirschfeld, who was elected bishop coadjutor on May 19, 2012 and consecrated bishop in Concord, New Hampshire on August 4, 2012. Hirschfeld served with Robinson until Robinson's formal retirement on January 5, 2013.

Robinson chose The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, in 1965 because they offered him a full scholarship. Robinson intended to study towards a medical degree but decided to major in American Studies. During his college days, Robinson began to seriously consider the ordained ministry and said it almost immediately felt right. During high school and then college, Robinson had been exploring philosophical and theological questions and has said, "The Episcopal Church got a hold on me." He graduated from Sewanee with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American studies in 1969 and attended seminary that fall. Robinson studied for a Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York City. While doing an intern year as a chaplain at the University of Vermont, he began dating his future wife, Isabella "Boo" McDaniel. Robinson says that about "a month into their relationship, [he] explained his background and his fears about his sexuality." They continued dating and, as Robinson puts it, "about a month before the marriage, [he] became frightened that ... this thing would raise its ugly head some day, and cause her and me great pain." Robinson and Boo discussed it and decided to go ahead with the marriage in 1972.

Robinson received his degree in 1973 and was ordained a deacon in June 1973 at the cathedral of the diocese of Newark, New Jersey. He served as curate at Christ Church in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and was ordained a priest six months later. He and his wife remained at the Ridgewood parish for two years until June 1975. They then moved to New Hampshire, where Boo had grown up. Their goal was to start a business and ministry: in the winter it was called "The Sign of the Dove Retreat Center" and in the summer it became "Pony Farm". Boo still runs "Pony Farm" as a horse camp for children. In 1977, Robinson began working with a committee in the Diocese of New Hampshire to study human sexuality and co-authored a small manual on the subject. Robinson and Boo's first daughter, Jamee, was born in 1977, followed by a second daughter, Ella, in 1981. Robinson treasures his marriage stating, "[T]hat is inextricably tied up with having children. And since I cannot imagine my life without Jamee and Ella, it's just a completely irrelevant question for me. And I don't regret having been married to Boo, either, even if there had not been children. It's just a part of my journey, and why would I possibly regret that?"

Robinson came out to his and Boo's friends in 1985/1986 and he sold out his part of the business to Boo. They remain friends. In November 1987, Robinson met his partner, Mark Andrew, while on vacation in St. Croix. Andrew was on vacation and worked in Washington, D.C., at the national office of the Peace Corps. On July 2, 1988, Robinson and Andrew moved into a new house and had it blessed by Bishop Douglas Theuner, an event which they considered to be the formal recognition of their life together. Andrew currently works in the New Hampshire state government. He was legally joined to Robinson in June 2008 in a private civil union ceremony, followed by a religious ceremony, both in St Paul's Church, Concord. Earlier, Robinson had said, "I always wanted to be a June bride." Robinson and Andrew ended their union in 2014.

Robinson became Canon to the Ordinary in 1988, the executive assistant to the then bishop of New Hampshire, Douglas Theuner. Robinson remained in this job for the next seventeen years until he was elected bishop. Robinson and his daughters are very close. Ella actively helped her father with public relations at the General Convention in 2003. Just a week before the General Convention, Robinson had been with his daughter Jamee and held his four-hour-old first granddaughter. He now has two granddaughters.


Further Readings:

God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage by Gene Robinson
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Vintage (June 4, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307948099
ISBN-13: 978-0307948090
Amazon: God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage
Amazon Kindle: God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage

From the Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church, the first openly gay person elected (in 2003) to the historic episcopate and the world's leading religious spokesperson for gay rights and gay marriage—a groundbreaking book that lovingly and persuasively makes the case for same-sex marriage using a commonsense, reasoned, religious argument, made by someone who holds the religious text of the Bible to be holy and sacred and the ensuing two millennia of church history to be relevant to the discussion, equally familiar with the secular and political debate going on in America today, and for whom same-sex marriage is a personal issue; Robinson was married to a woman for two decades and is a father of two children and has been married to a man for the last four years of a twenty-three-year relationship.

More Real Life Romances at my website:, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance

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