The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has elected the first openly lesbian bishop since the national church lifted a ban that sought to bar gays and lesbians from the church's highest ordained ministry, the church announced.
Members of the church, who met here for their annual convention, elected the Reverend Canon Mary Glasspool, 55, who has maintained an open relationship with another woman since 1988.
Another gay candidate, the Reverend John Kirkley of San Francisco, withdrew late Friday, the church announcement said.
Glasspool received 153 votes in the clergy order and 203 lay votes, meeting the required majority of ballots after the Convention's necessary quorum was declared.
Consent to the election of Glasspool by the bishops and standing committees of the Episcopal Church's other 108 dioceses will now be requested under longstanding denominational procedures.
"I am very excited about the future of the whole Episcopal Church, and I see the Diocese of Los Angeles leading the way into that future," said Glasspool, a native of Staten Island, New York, whose father was also an Episcopal priest.
Glasspool?s election to fill one of two openings for bishops of the diocese followed the selection Friday of the Reverend Canon Diane Jardine Bruce, 53, the rector of a San Clemente church, the Los Angeles Times said.
The two became the first women elected as bishops of the diocese in its 114-year history, according to The Times.
But it was the endorsement of Glasspool that riveted much of the convention as well as the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the US branch, the paper noted.
She was the first openly gay cleric to be elected bishop since the ordination of the Reverend Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003.
His election threw the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion into turmoil, prompting some conservative parishes and dioceses to leave the national church.
A resident of Annapolis, Maryland, Glasspool was ordained in 1982 in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.
She holds a master of divinity degree from Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Glasspool's life partner, Becki Sander, holds a doctorate in social work.
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