Los Angeles: A 56-year-old lesbian was ordained as a bishop by the Episcopal church here, reigniting an issue which has caused bitter divisions in the Anglican movement worldwide.
Mary Glasspool became only the second openly gay bishop to be consecrated by the Episcopal Church, the governing Anglican body in the US, after Gene Robinson was ordained in 2003.
Glasspool was consecrated by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in a lunchtime ceremony attended by around 3,000 people at the Long Beach Arena, along with another woman priest, Diane Jardine Bruce.
The Episcopal Church`s willingness to embrace gays and lesbians has drawn criticism from conservatives and led to the formation of a breakaway US Anglican movement, the Anglican Church in North America.
Glasspool`s consecration followed a decision by the Episcopal General Convention in July 2009 to lift and ban on gays and lesbians becoming bishops.
But the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the 77 million Anglicans worldwide, reacted sternly to Glasspool`s election when it was announced in December last year, hinting it could even lead to the Episcopal Church`s eventual exclusion from the Anglican Communion.