In June, Robinson plans to enter into a civil union with his partner of 20 years, Mark Andrew. He says he will do everything he can to keep photographers away, out of deference to those who find his same-sex relationship offensive, but he acknowledges that the event is likely to attract negative attention nonetheless.
And then, in July, he will head to London, as the most prominent uninvited guest of the Lambeth Conference, the decennial gathering of the world’s 800 Anglican bishops. Robinson was not invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury because he is a noncelibate gay man, a status that many Anglican leaders believe is prohibited by the Bible.
The Anglican Communion offered to allow Robinson to appear at a booth in an exhibition hall, rather than attending the meeting; that proposal was ridiculed by a columnist for one British newspaper, the Guardian, who suggested, tongue in cheek, that the invitation for Robinson to appear in the so-called “marketplace” was made “presumably so that passing bishops can poke him in his cage with a stick.”
Robinson said that because he will not be permitted inside the Lambeth Conference, he will instead be outside the meeting daily, talking to anyone who will listen. He said he is working with gay organizations internationally who hope to have gay people from throughout the Anglican Communion in London to show the bishops that the issue is global.
“One of the things I think I’ve learned in the last five years is that, as much as I wanted to be known as the good bishop, and not the gay bishop, there’s no escaping,” Robinson said in an interview last week at the diocesan headquarters here. “I would love just to be a simple country bishop, but that just doesn’t seem to be in the cards.”
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