Bishop Gene Robinson, the infamous gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, is reported as saying:
I always wanted to be a June bride.
And so he is planning to “march down the aisle” with his partner Mark, in a same sex legal union, in June 2008 (not July 4th as reported by Ruth Gledhill). Well, as I wrote in comments here and here, and see also this post, I consider this to be a small step in the right direction: if he will not give up his gay union, it is best that he formally acknowledges it and pledges himself to being faithful to his partner.
But hold on, isn’t there something wrong here? A man who has always wanted to a bride? Was he not thinking when he used the word “bride”, or perhaps joking? Does “always” go back to the time when he was a bridegroom? Perhaps he has always suffered from gender confusion. After all, if this rather sensationalist article can be trusted (see also the full text of the interview this article was based on):
Born in 1947 in the Bible Belt in Lexington, Kentucky, he was not expected to survive the delivery, so his sharecropper parents were asked to give names for both the birth and death certificates. Expecting a girl, they opted for Vicky Imogene. He has never changed it.
Given this confusion about his birth and his upbringing with a girl’s name, no wonder that
By the age of 11, he was sensing that his sexual urges were different from those of his schoolmates.
Now I know this is not a popular thing to say, but it seems rather likely that this man at least grew up to be gay because of serious psychological damage in childhood. To be fair to him, he did try therapy, and marriage, but his gay tendencies eventually got the upper hand.
The question here, as I see it, is whether the church should be promoting psychologically damaged people like this into high positions. Of course I have to accept that no one is perfect, and that sometimes people who have been through traumatic times are equipped to minister to others suffering similarly, in ways in which those whose life has always been easy are not so suitable. But I would expect those promoted to being bishops, like Gene Robinson, at least to demonstrate that their psychological hurts have been fully healed. And that should include them being in control of their own sexuality and so being able to live the celibate life if that is required of them – as, by the rules of the Anglican Communion, it is of Gene Robinson.