Gene Robinson: first openly gay Anglican bishop, retires, joins think tank

((Photo: Reuters / Fred Prouser))

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Anglican bishop, officially retired earlier this month and plans to work on faith and gay rights issues at a policy think tank in Washington D.C.

Robinson retired from his position as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire on Jan. 5. He told National Public Radio's Terry Gross that he reconsidered retiring before the age of 72 when Mary Glasspool joined the House of Bishops as an open gay bishop.

He thought about what he wanted to do, where God was calling him next, and finally decided to work for the Center for American Progress, a progressive research and policy organization, on faith and gay rights issues. Robinson is currently a senior fellow at the organization.

"I've long been really intrigued with what is the ... proper role of faith and religion in public life," Robinson told NPR's "Fresh Air" program. "How do we address the issues that face us as a nation, and what might the church, the synagogue, the mosque have to say to those issues, and what's the proper way of making that input into this larger discussion?"

At 65, the typical retirement age, Robinson and his husband, Mark, will be packing their bags in New Hampshire and heading to Washington D.C.

Speaking to the radio program, Robinson admitted that receiving death threats from being an outspoken LGBT rights advocate does "take a toll" on him and Mark, but he has concluded that "at some point, you have to just decide that you're going to live your life and follow what you believe God is calling you to do and let the risks take care of themselves."

Robinson released his latest book, "God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage," in fall 2012.

"Gay is not something we do," he told NPR. "It's something we are."

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