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.