Clergy and laypeople voting to replace two retiring assistant bishops in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles will choose Friday from a pool that includes two openly gay candidates.
The selection of one or both of the gay candidates at the diocese's annual convention would mark the first election of a bishop in a same-sex relationship since Bishop V. Gene Robinson was chosen in New Hampshire in 2003. Robinson lives with his longtime male partner.
Robinson's win six years ago led dozens of conservative parishes and four dioceses to vote to leave the 2.1-million member U.S. denomination and pushed the 77 million-member Anglican fellowship to the brink of schism.
There are six candidates in this week's election, including the Rev. John L. Kirkley of San Francisco and the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool of Baltimore, who are openly gay.