Gay bishop to retire due to death threats

“The fact is, the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family and you,” Robinson wrote in a message posted on the diocese website on Nov. 6. “Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as bishop have been a constant strain, not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark, who has faithfully stood with me every minute of the last seven years.”

The controversy over Robinson so divided the Episcopal Church that in 2006 its General Convention called a moratorium on “any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church.”

Then in July 2009, the church voted to end the moratorium. By then the issue had opened a rift within the broader Anglican Church, with some U.S. Episcopal congregations breaking away to align themselves with anti-gay Anglican bishops in South America and Africa.

Robinson will be 65 when he retires.

The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the Church of England’s Anglican Communion.