[Episcopal News Service] Former Diocese of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson has announced that he and his partner of 25 years Mark Andrew recently decided to get divorced.
In a message to the diocese announcing the decision, Robinson said: “As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for us, not a decision entered into lightly or without much counseling. I’m sure that you will understand the private nature of this change in our lives and our commitment to keeping those details appropriately private.”
Robinson became the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion in 2003 and served as the Diocese of New Hampshire’s episcopal leader until his retirement in January 2013.
“Our life and ministry among you continues to be something that both of us count as an honor and blessing,” Robinson wrote to the diocese. “We ask for your prayers, that the love and care for each other that has characterized our relationship for a quarter century will continue in the difficult days ahead.”
Incumbent New Hampshire Bishop Rob Hirschfeld asked the diocese to “keep both Gene and Mark close in your prayers as they seek God’s deep peace and healing. We love them both dearly, and our gratitude for their ministries is profound. May the God who can turn our sorrows and tribulations into freedom and life through Christ visit each of them in their journeys ahead.”
In an article for The Daily Beast, titled “A Bishop’s Decision to Divorce,” Robinson wrote that “all of us sincerely intend, when we take our wedding vows, to live up to the ideal of ‘til death do us part.’ But not all of us are able to see it through.
“As my marriage to Mark ends, I believe him to be one of the kindest, most generous and loyal human beings on earth,” Robinson wrote. “There is no way I could ever repay the debt I owe him for his standing by me through the challenges of the last decade.”
Robinson wrote that his “favorite piece of bumper-sticker wisdom” right now is: “In the end, all will be well. If all is not well, it is not yet the end.”
Robinson, who served as canon to the ordinary in the New Hampshire diocese from 1988 until his ordination as bishop coadjutor in November 2003, has two daughters from his first marriage to Isabella McDaniel, which ended amicably in the mid-1980s.
“Life keeps on coming at you, ready or not. And sometimes life brings pain and seemingly impossible choices,” he wrote in The Daily Beast article. “So, for me, all is not well right now; but I believe – no, actually I know – in the end, it will be.”