The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on Friday elected its first openly gay bishop.

The Rev. R. Guy Erwin was elected to a six-year term to the Southwest California Synod, which includes Los Angeles, according to a press release by ReconcilingWorks, which represents LGBT people in the Lutheran community. The election was held during the synod's 3-day annual assembly in Woodland Hills, California.

The move comes two years after the ELCA ended its ban on openly gay ministers.

Emily Eastwood, executive director of ReconcilingWorks, applauded the vote.

“The election of Pastor Erwin to the office of bishop occurred because he was the best candidate, not because he was a partnered gay man. Pastor Erwin is an eminent scholar and church leader. He is a teacher at heart and was an excellent pastor long before the was ordained in 2011. In many ways his election is simply the logical and appropriate next step for our denomination following the 2009 elimination of policies precluding pastors in committed same-gender relationships.”

“In other ways, Pastor Erwin's election marks a new and brighter day for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Lutherans as one of our own has been chosen not in spite of being gay, but because he is truly gifted and skilled for the office. Once again, today we are proud to be Lutherans.”

Erwin and his partner, Rob Flynn, are members of St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in North Hollywood.