The openly gay U.S. Episcopal bishop at the center of the Anglican church's global battle over homosexuality, has entered into a civil union with his longtime partner at a private ceremony. [I usually think of a private ceremony being the bride, the groom, the minister, and two witnesses, not 120 guests.]
About 120 guests gathered at St. Paul's Church in [Concord,] New Hampshire for Saturday's ceremony for Bishop Gene Robinson and his partner of more than 19 years, Mark Andrews. The event was kept private out of respect for next month's worldwide Anglican conference, Robinson's spokesman, Mike Barwell, said on Sunday. [Oh, yeah, right, which is why this "private" event has been one of the top stories of the day in world news. If he really had "respect for next month's worldwide Anglican conference" he could have waited until after it was over. And if he had any respect for the decisions of the Lambeth Conference (Resolution 1.10, 1998) he wouldn't have done this at all.]
"It was absolutely joyful," Barwell said by telephone. "A lot of his supporters and friends were there, including many members of the gay and lesbian community." [But, again, it was just a simple, private ceremony--just like Gene merely wants to be a simple country bishop.]
The 77 million-member Anglican Communion, a global federation of national churches, has been in upheaval since 2003 when the Episcopal Church consecrated Robinson as the first bishop known to be in an openly homosexual relationship in more than four centuries of church history. [Yup, and if +++Rowan doesn't do more than hold Indaba groups and pray that this will somehow, magically go away, the Anglican Communion is toast!]
The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. [--Along with missionary districts established by the Anglican Churches of Rwanda, South East Asia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and the Province of the Southern Cone. Hey, this is getting to be some party!]
Disputes over scriptural authority, the blessing of gay unions and other matters have become a worldwide issue and threaten turmoil this summer when Anglicans gather for their once-a-decade Lambeth Conference in Britain. [Well, 280 bishops aren't even coming to Lambeth because +++Rowan hasn't done a bloody thing to deal with this mess, so that should lessen the turmoil somewhat--at least long enough to let the Indaba groups drink the Kool-Aid and sing Kumbaya.]
Robinson has in the past received death threats and wore a bulletproof vest under his vestments at his consecration in 2003. Two uniformed police officers stood guard at Saturday's ceremony in the state capital Concord, said Barwell. [Am I the only one who is sick of gay activists conjuring up imaginary death threats to get sympathy? 1, 2]
Robinson and Andrews held two ceremonies -- a non-religious one in which they became legal partners followed by a formal church service to give blessings to God for their relationship. ["These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (Matthew 15:8, Isaiah 29:13)]
Robinson, 61, a divorced father of two [but, of course, homosexuality isn't a choice, he was born that way], praised New Hampshire's lawmakers when they passed legislation last year to make the state the fourth in the country where same-sex civil unions are legal. The law took effect January 1. [But if he and his partner had gotten "married" then, it would have been old news by the time Lambeth rolled around.]
Robinson has suggested states go further and follow Massachusetts, which in 2003 became the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.
Robinson has said he wanted to enter into the civil union before leaving for England to ensure Andrew and his two daughters had legal protections given the threats to his life. [1. Just in case no one caught the previous reference to "death threats," let's whine about it some more, even if there is no proof any such threats actually existed. 2. Can anyone tell me what sort of legal protection this gives to his daughters, both of whom are now grown and were already his daughters from his actual marriage, not this weekend's bogus media event?]
Civil unions grant largely the same state rights as married couples -- from insurance coverage to tax benefits and hospital visiting rights -- but lack the full, federal legal protections of marriage.
Robinson has been excluded from the Anglican Communion's Lambeth Conference but plans to attend as an outside observer. [--Where he will give more interviews and be the subject of more news stories than anyone else at Lambeth. But, of course, he just wants to be a simple country bishop.]