The California diocese of the Episcopal Church elects a new bishop today. Three of the seven candidates are openly homosexual:
The election would normally play out as a decidedly local event, but many from the broader Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion to which it belongs are focused on it because three of the seven candidates are openly gay or lesbian ministers in long-term relationships.
Three years ago, when the Episcopal Church consecrated the Rev. V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay bishop in the church's history, it set off a bitter fight in the denomination about homosexuality that threatened to rend the church and the worldwide communion.
If the diocese of California elects a gay bishop, experts on the church said, the denomination could edge even closer to the point of fracture.
Of course, the reality is the Episcopal Church has tolerated this for years or otherwise these candidates would not be in the position they are in.