Associated Press religion writer Rachel Zoll reports the following:

“Bishop V. Gene Robinson announced the end of his marriage to Mark Andrew in an email sent to the Diocese of New Hampshire, where he served for nine years before retiring in 2012.

“Robinson would not disclose details about the end of their 25-year relationship but wrote Sunday in the Daily Beast that he owed a debt to Andrew ‘for standing by me through the challenges of the last decade.'”

This inevitably raises the question: If this male bishop’s male mate really “stood by” him through all the challenges, why on earth is he concealing the reason why he is divorcing?

Bishop Robinson was invited – and accepted – President Obama’s invitation to deliver the benediction at the opening of the 2009 inaugural event.

What if the president were asked if he agrees with this bishop’s marital standard – in which Robinson announced:

“My belief in marriage is undiminished by the reality of divorcing someone I have loved for a very long time, and will continue to love even as we separate. Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot.”

The AP continued, “A spokeswoman for Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori referred requests for comment to the Diocese of New Hampshire (a ducking of the issue). A spokeswoman for New Hampshire Bishop Rob Hirschfeld cited an email he sent to local clergy and wardens urging prayer for Robinson and Andrew.”

How about some prayer for Bishop Robinson’s first spouse, a woman, with whom he had two children (with no reports of artificial insemination)?

Robinson divorced her in order to marry Mark, whom he is now divorcing.

What next for this prelate, who in 2006 sought treatment for alcoholism?

Two years later, Robinson was barred from the worldwide Lambeth Conference of Episcopal Anglican Bishops by order of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.

The Rev. Susan Russell, an Episcopal gay-rights leader in the Diocese of Los Angeles who preached at Robinson and Andrew’s union, said the end of the men’s marriage was tragic, but Robinson would remain an “icon of a faithful Christian man living out his vocation, not by his choice, but by his placement in history.”

That acclamation begs the question as to whether Gene Robinson obeyed his vows to his first and female wife after he met Mark Andrew.

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