The Episcopal Church has given final approval to the ordination of an openly gay bishop in Los Angeles.
Mary Glasspool is the first openly gay bishop approved since 2003, when the election of a gay man as bishop of New Hampshire caused such an uproar in the global Anglican Communion that the U.S. church imposed a moratorium on such elevations. The ban was lifted last year.
Glasspool is also one of the first two women to be elected as bishops in the 114-year history of the Los Angeles diocese, according to the Los Angeles Times. The other, Diane M. Jardine Bruce, won final approval March 8.
"I'm overjoyed," Glasspool told The Times in a phone interview from Baltimore, where she is canon, or senior assistant, to the bishop of Maryland. "I know there are people who might not be overjoyed by this, and I am committed to reaching out with my own hand and my own heart to people who might not feel the same as I do."
Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno told The Times he, too, is overjoyed, and called the election of the two women "historic."
He said the consenting votes by U.S. bishops and diocesan standing committees demonstrated "that the Episcopal Church, by canon, creates no barrier for ministry on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, among other factors."
Glasspool and Bruce were both elected to the position of bishop suffragan, which means that they will be assistants to Bruno. Both will be ordained and consecrated at a ceremony May 15.
David C. Anderson, president of the breakaway American Anglican Council, told The Times that Glasspool's election shows the Episcopal Church "will not abide by traditional Christian and Anglican Communion teaching on marriage and sexuality."