Protests planned at ordination of gay bishop

 Conservative opponents of the appointment of Rev Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire are set to disrupt his consecration this Sunday by speaking out during the service. The first openly gay Episcopal bishop will be consecrated before some 4,000 people and as is usual during the ceremony a moment will be allowed for objections. As in Church weddings, on Sunday the presiding Bishop Frank Griswold will ask: "If any of you know any reason why we should not proceed, let it now be made known." It is understood a representative of the American Anglican Council, a national association for conservatives opposed to ordaining gays, plans to make a statement against the consecration at that time. A spokesperson for the US Episcopalian Church said the objection would not be allowed to stop the consecration and warned that if the objectors became unruly they would be removed on security grounds. He said: "At some point, it becomes a security issue, not a liturgical issue." However, the Church added that if further evidence was presented during the consecration, beyond the now familiar protests about his sexuality, the ceremony would be stopped to allow the 49 bishops present to consider and discuss it. During the consecration 56 year old Robinson will be presented by his two daughters, his ex-wife and his gay partner, Mark Andrew. In 1989, when Barbara Harris of Massachusetts was ordained the first female Episcopal bishop, two conservatives objected during the ceremony. The Church spokesperson said: "The congregation listened to their objections very carefully and the presiding bishop said, thank you, but we have already dealt with all those issues, and the ceremony continued."

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