Feb. 9, 2019: The Rev. Thomas James Brown becomes the first openly gay bishop to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Maine and the third in the United States.

Brown, the husband of an Episcopalian minister who is rector of a church in Boston, is elected on the third ballot at a convention of clergy members and lay delegates at a convention in Bangor. He succeeds the Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane.

The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson became the first gay and partnered Episcopalian bishop in 2003 when he was elevated to lead the Diocese of New Hampshire. Robinson’s appointment sparked controversy among officials of the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a part. He retired in 2013.

Robinson joined his partner of 25 years in a civil union in 2008. They married in 2010 and divorced in 2014.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: jowen@mainetoday.com.

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