The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
might become the first congregation to elect an openly gay bishop
since the Episcopal Church lifted its self-imposed moratorium in
July, the AP reported.
Among the six candidates vying to
replace two retiring assistant bishops are two gay candidates: the
Rev. John L. Kirkley of San Francisco and the Rev. Canon Mary D.
Glasspool of Baltimore.
The selection of Bishop V. Gene
Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003 created a deep division between
liberals and conservatives in the 77 million-member Anglican
Communion – of which the Episcopal Church is the American branch –
and lead to a moratorium on electing gay bishops.
But at its general convention in July
the church reversed course, voting in favor of lifting the ban.
The diocese announced in August that
Kirkley and Glasspool would be considered for bishop suffragan.
In prerecorded video messages to clergy
and laypeople voting Friday, both nominees mentioned “diversity”
as a strength of the Los Angeles diocese. Glasspool said the “full
inclusion of gay, lesbian, transgendered and bisexual people” makes
Los Angeles a “leading diocese in the Episcopal Church.”
Rowan Williams, the head of the Church
of England and the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion warned
of isolation from the mainstream Anglican Communion for dioceses that
elect openly gay clergy. The Diocese of Central Florida and Dallas
have both publicly rejected the church's actions. Episcopalians
unhappy with the church have formed the Anglican Church in North
America, a conservative version the Episcopal Church.