CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A clergyman who has sought six times to become the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop may try again when New Hampshire's bishop retires in 2004.
Search committee guidelines for the next bishop will be released later this year.
''It would be fair to say that I'm very open to the possibility,'' said the Rev. Canon Gene Robinson, assistant to the current bishop, the Right Rev. Douglas Theuner. ''My being gay is rarely alluded to by me or the congregation.''
Theuner, bishop for 16 years and a gay rights advocate, declined comment.
In Robinson's previous bids to become a bishop, he narrowly lost among both clergy and lay delegates in Rochester, N.Y., in 1999, and came in third behind two local candidates in Newark, N.J., in 1998.
The Episcopal Church is divided over homosexual clergy and same-sex unions. A 1979 church resolution that discourages homosexuality is not binding church law, so dioceses set their own policies.
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