Gay bishop’s daughter defends parents’ split

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The daughter of the Anglican Church’s first gay bishop has criticised the British press for reporting that her father had abandoned his family to live with a man.

Ella Robinson, the daughter of Gene Robinson who was controversially elected as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, aims to dispel rumours surrounding her parent’s relationship in an interview for a new book on the clergyman’s life.

Going to Heaven: The Life and Election of Bishop Gene Robinson, a biography based on interviews with the cleric and friends and family, reveals his daughter’s determination to show there is no dispute within her family over her father’s sexual orientation.

Her complaints relate to a 2003 report in the Daily Telegraph which contained the headline “Gay Canon who left wife is favourite to be Anglican bishop,” and an editorial in a Church of England newspaper which suggested Bishop Robinson had abandoned his wife for a gay lover.

However, the book reveals that Ella expressed her mother’s support for Gene at the Episcopal Church’s approval of his appointment in 2003 where she described her relatives as an “unusual family… filled with love.”

Bishop Robinson and his wife Isabella McDaniel, known as Boo, separated in 1986 after 14 years of marriage, he said: “We felt that Boo deserved a relationship with a man who could love her in a heterosexual way and I deserved to see if I could make my life with another man as well, there was no one else involved for either one of us, we just wanted to do the right thing for each other.”

Going to Heaven: The Life and Election of Bishop Gene Robinson is out on September 28 2006.