Bishop V. Gene Robinson, who cited controversy and death threats surrounding his appointment as the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church when he announced his resignation over the weekend, said that the naysayers are not the reason for his departure.
Robinson noted the strains of his historic position Saturday when he told a diocesan convention that he would step down as bishop of New Hampshire in January 2013 at age 65, seven years before the usual retirement age for an Episcopal bishop.
The Los Angeles Times now reports, "In the aftermath of that announcement, Robinson insisted in an interview Monday that he was not throwing in the towel, and hadn't been defeated by the detractors who blamed his election for widening a rift in the worldwide Anglican Communion over homosexuality.
"'In no way am I being run off by those who opposed me or the positions that I take,' he said. 'If death threats were going to scare me off, I would have left in the first year of being bishop when they were coming at me all the time,'" he said.
Robinson vowed to remain active in an as yet undefined role.
Colleagues such as Bishop Mary Glasspool, the second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, told the Times that Robinson may have been suffering the strain of serving his 15,000-member diocese and the international gay rights movement.
"Gene initially simply wanted to be the bishop of New Hampshire -- that was his vocation, his call," said Glasspool. "And I think he had to wrestle with the fact that the [gay] community worldwide had some expectations of him that he then had to consider ... as he became a symbol and an icon for other communities around the world."
"Certainly," she said, "the stress of that, in and of itself, can wear you down."