The Episcopal Church is on the verge of confirming the election of a second openly gay bishop, a move certain to provoke a strong reaction from conservatives in the church.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles announced Wednesday that the nomination of Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool to become suffragan (assistant) bishop of the diocese has received the needed number of consents from diocesan standing committees. Glasspool's election, however, won't be complete until a majority of presiding bishops agree.

“I am not unaware of the many complicated dynamics that have been a part of this election and I want to acknowledge them,” Glasspool said in addressing the diocese. “Any group of people who has been oppressed because of any one isolated aspect of their persons yearns for justice and for equal rights. My own heart has been stressed deeply today.”

In a statement released soon after Glasspool's nomination, Los Angeles Bishop Rev. J. Jon Bruno said the church “must move forward and respect the dignity of all human beings which is called for in our Baptismal Covenant and canons.”

Glasspool's ordination is scheduled to take place on May 5 at the Long Beach Arena, provided a majority of bishops approve.

The ascension of a second openly gay bishop is certain to once again test the bond between the 77 million-member Anglican Communion and its more liberal American branch, the Episcopal Church.

The 2003 ordination of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson sparked a firestorm of protest within the church and led to a self-imposed moratorium on the election of gay bishops.

But last July the church reversed course, voting in favor of lifting the ban at its general convention, and within six months the Los Angeles diocese had nominated Glasspool.

Dr. Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, appealed to Episcopalians to reject Glasspool, saying that the “decision will have very important implications.”

“The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold,” he added.

Anglican leaders in Australia also criticized Glasspool's nomination.

“I understand that homosexual people are real people who need loving commitment to Christ and helping to live faithful lives,” Rev. Robert Forsythe, bishop of the South Sydney diocese, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in December. “But to endorse this as a leader of the church sends in my view entirely the wrong message and is inconsistent with discipleship to Christ.”

Forsythe, a vocal opponent of gay clergy, predicted Glasspool's election would permanently split the Anglican Community.