V Gene Robinson
- Category : 1947-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 2/4 - Hermit / Opportunist
- Definition : Split - Small (23)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 2
American clergy, Bishop V. Gene Robinson, is the first openly gay, non-celibate man to be elected bishop of any Christian sect in the 2,000 year history of Christianity. He was elected head of the New Hampshire Episcopal diocese on June 7, 2003 in Concord, NH, and, after several days of debate, he was confirmed at a convention in Minneapolis, MN on August 5 amidst applause and protests both. Conservative members of the church announced that his appointment would cause a schism and protested loudly, but the Rt. Reverend Vicky Gene Robinson has so far transcended criticism and attacks, claiming that God called him "to acknowledge myself as a gay man" and adding that the Almighty isn’t unhappy with gays and lesbians. "God loves me and them just the way we are," he said. On November 2, 2003 at about 4 PM in Durham, NH, he was consecrated Bishop Co-Adjutor of New Hampshire, serving under Bishop Theuner until Theuner’s retirement in 2004 when Robinson will become head of the diocese.
Robinson is no stranger to hardship. Born to a tenant tobacco farmer and his homemaker wife, Robinson’s parents were told at his birth that he would die or be severely impaired mentally and physically. He was paralyzed on one side of his body, his head was bruised and deformed, one eye was swollen shut, placed in an incubator and fed with an eyedropper. His father was told to sign the birth and death certificates and in his anguish gave the dying baby the name he and his wife had chosen for a girl: Vicky. He and his parents attribute his remarkable recovery to a miracle from God.
Robinson’s parents were devoutly church-going, and one night, during a revival in August 1959, Robinson claimed he gave his life to Christ. Declining an offer to attend Princeton University, he instead accepted a scholarship from the University of the South, an all-boys Episcopal college in Sewanee, Tennessee and embraced the Episcopal Church.
Bishop Robinson graduated in 1969 with a degree in American Studies and History. In 1973, he completed his Masters in Divinity at General Theological Seminary in New York. Ordained on June 9, 1973, he became Curate of Christ Church in Ridgewood, NJ, moving to New Hampshire in 1975 where he co-owned and directed a girls’ summer camp. He subsequently founded Sign of the Dove Retreat Center and managed a spiritual growth program for the diocese.
From 1978-1985, he worked in a variety of youth programs and was one of the original designers of national Episcopal Youth Event. He also founded Concord Outright, a support group of teens who are questioning their sexuality or who are gay or lesbian.
Since 1983 he has been Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Province of New England. Five years later, he was named Canon to the Ordinary for the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire and became a member of the Board of Trustees of the General Theological Seminary in 2001.
Early in his life he began to question his sexuality, struggling with his church’s teaching that homosexuality was sinful. Convinced that he wanted to marry and have children, he sought counseling while he was a student at the theological seminary. When he met Isabella Martin, he felt ready to commit to a heterosexual marriage, and shared with her his concerns around his sexuality. They believed that therapy had helped. They married before he took the position of curate in New Jersey, and the couple had two daughters, Jamee and Ella. However, in 1985, he again sought counseling and the couple separated. Their divorce was amicable, with Isabella re-marrying 18 months later. Robinson began dating Mark Andrew, the man who would become his partner. Together, they moved to New Hampshire, remaining close to Gene’s two daughters and ex-wife. Beloved by his congregation, for his spirituality, honesty, and humanity, Bishop Coadjutor Robinson attributes the support he received from his family and diocese for helping him weather the storm surrounding his nomination as Bishop.
He formally assumed leadership as Bishop in an investiture ceremony on March 7, 2004.
On February 1, 2006, Bishop Robinson entered a four-week rehabilitation program acknowledging his "increasing dependence on alcohol" in an e-mail sent on February 13 to the 49 churches in his diocese.