Justin Deabler is a lawyer in New York City, but he may be better known to millions of TV viewers as a Hawaii cast member of MTV’s The Real World. Like most gay men and lesbians, he is furious that the president and conservative lawmakers are backing the Federal Marriage Amendment. To him, the president is trashing the country’s most precious document for short-term political gain
As the renewed debate over equal marriage rights has shown, at the root of all opposition to gay and lesbian rights lies religious conviction. In 2003 one gay man stood resolutely at the center of the contentious battle to shift religion away from hatred and exclusion and toward love and equality. V. Gene Robinson—elected bishop in June by the Episcopalians of New Hampshire, confirmed at the church’s national convention in August, and consecrated November 2—has handled the resulting anger from conservative Christians with poise and eloquence. For his grace under the pressure of a worldwide debate and for his steadfast focus on his mission to open God’s church to all people on the margins, Bishop Robinson is The Advocate’s Person of the Year.