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Gene Robinson, First Out Episcopal Bishop, To Divorce Husband

" … I am seeking to be as open and honest in the midst of this decision as I have been in other dramatic moments of my life," he wrote in a column for The Daily Beast.

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AP Photo/Episcopal Dioceses of New Hampshire, File

Bishop Gene Robinson (right) and Mark Andrews (left) at a civil union ceremony in 2008 with Justice of the Peace Ronna Wise (center).

Bishop Gene Robinson, the retired religious leader whose election as bishop divided the Episcopal Church, announced Saturday he is divorcing his partner of over 25 years.

Robinson, 66, and Mark Andrews, whom he married in 2010, are separating, the Bishop said in a May 3 statement to the church as well as in a May 4 column for The Daily Beast titled, "A Bishop's Decision to Divorce."

"While the details of our situation will remain appropriately private, I am seeking to be as open and honest in the midst of this decision as I have been in other dramatic moments of my life — coming out in 1986, falling in love, and accepting the challenge of becoming Christendom's first openly gay priest to be elected a Bishop in the historic succession of bishops stretching back to the apostles," Robinson said in the column.

Robinson retired as bishop of New Hampshire last year after leading in the church for a decade. His election to bishop in 2003 made him the church's first out gay bishop and led some conservative Episcopalians to quit. He is currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Prior to marrying, Robinson and Andrews were joined in a civil union in 2008. Robinson said that despite their marriage ending, he thinks of Andrews as "one of the kindest, most generous and loyal human beings on earth," he wrote. "There is no way I could ever repay the debt I owe him for his standing by me through the challenges of the last decade."

Robison reflected on marriage in the column, saying it takes two to marry, and, likewise, two to divorce.

"It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples," he said.

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