Bishop Alan Wilson
Anglican Bishop to Gay Clergy: Come Out

By Michael O'Loughlin

Originally published on Advocate.com April 03 2014 5:30 AM ET

Now that same-sex marriage is legal in the U.K., one Church of England bishop has some advice for gay clergy: come out.

Bishop Alan Wilson said he believes "there are 13 gay bishops in the Church of England," according to a story from Religion News Service.

The Church of England will not perform same-sex weddings, per the compromise struck with lawmakers to pass marriage equality there.

According to RNS, Wilson, who is married to a woman, is relying on comments made by Rev. Colin Coward, the head of Changing Attitude, a pro-LGBT organization in the U.K. Coward wrote, “I would confidently name 13 bishops (in the Church of England) as being gay, meaning 10 percent of bishops in England are gay. How any of the 13 live with themselves, their inner world of truth, I can’t imagine.”

Wilson said he is "delighted" that gay people can marry and implored the public to stop differentiating between same-sex and heterosexual marriage, writing in PinkNews that the "legal, personal and social reality is simply 'marriage.'"

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., Bishop Gene Robsinon, a member of the American arm of the Anglican Communion, wrote in a column at the The Daily Beast that religious conservatives in the U.S. have suddenly found themselves minorities, but are not victims, as they sometimes cast themselves.

"Here’s what victimization looks like," wrote Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church. "Every day, especially in some places, LGBT people face the real possibility of violence because of their orientation or gender identity. Young people jump off bridges or hang themselves on playground swing sets because of the bullying and discrimination they face. In 29 states, one can be fired from one’s job simply for being gay, with no recourse to the courts."

After acknowledging the pain that some religious conservatives feel now that their views on homosexuality have been challenged, he nonetheless took them to task for claiming victimhood.

"But as a society, we would do well to distinguish between real victimization and the also-very-real discouragement felt by those who now find themselves in the minority," he wrote.

Robinson's elevation to bishop as an openly gay man sent shock waves through the Anglican Communion in 2004. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. clashed with more conservative factions of the Anglican Communion, especially branches in Africa, and led to the defection of several U.S. churches to African dioceses. 

Contributor: 
Michael O'Loughlin