b. May 29, 1947
“It’s not so much a dream as a calling from God.”
In 2003, The Rt. Rev.V. Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected as Episcopal bishop. His ordination caused a global rift within the Episcopal Church and led to international debate about the inclusion of gay clergy in church hierarchy. In the weeks leading up to his consecration, Robinson received hate mail and death threats, triggering the FBI to place him under 24-hour protection.
Gene Robinson grew up outside Lexington, Kentucky. The son of poor tobacco sharecroppers, he was raised without running water or indoor plumbing. He recalls his childhood as rustic and religious, with Sunday school and services at a small Disciples of Christ congregation.
Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of the South and his Master of Divinity from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained a priest in 1973.
Despite doubts about his sexual orientation, Robinson married in 1972. He and his wife moved to New Hampshire where they raised two daughters. Robinson worked as youth ministries coordinator for the seven dioceses of New England and cofounded the national Episcopal Youth Event. Robinson divorced his wife and came out in the mid-1980’s.
Robinson is the coauthor of three AIDS education curricula. In Uganda, he helped set up a national peer counseling program for AIDS educators working with religious institutions.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force honored Robinson with a Leadership Award in 2004. In 2007, he received the Flag Bearer Award from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) for leadership and inclusion in faith communities.
In 2008, Bishop Robinson and Mark Andrew, partners for more than 19 years, exchanged vows in a civil union ceremony in New Hampshire.
“Episcopalians Approve Gay Bishop.” CNN. August 6, 2003
“Gene Robinson Biography.” Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. June 20, 2008
Monroe, Rev. Irene. “Perspective: Gene Robinson.” Windy City Times. June 11, 2008
Steele, Bruce C. “Robinson Redux.” The Advocate. July 17, 2007
Burns, John F. “Cast Out, but at the Center of the Storm.” The New York Times. August 3, 2008
Costello, Andrew. “Let God Love Gene Robinson.” GQ. June, 2008
Goodstein, Laurie. “Episcopalians are Reaching Point of Revolt.” The New York Times. December 17, 2006
Goodstein, Laurie. “Gay Bishop Plans His Civil Union Rite.” The New York Times. April 25, 2008
Keizer, Garret. “Turning away from Jesus: Gay Rights and the War for the Episcopal Church.” Harper’s Magazine. June, 2008
Lawton, Kim. “Interview: Bishop Gene Robinson.” PBS. May 2, 2008
Millard, Rosie. “Interview: The Rev. Gene Robinson.” The Sunday Times. July 27, 2008
In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (2008)
For the Bible Tells Me So (2007)
Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire Website