Gene Robinson (right) shown laughing with his partner Mark. Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop. His story is told in the film “Love Free or Die”. (Courtesy of “Love Free or Die”)

Gene Robinson had two defining passions in direct conflict: his love for God and for his partner Mark. Robinson is the first openly gay person to become a bishop in the historic traditions of Christendom. His story is told in the film “Love Free or Die”.

The free screening of “Love Free or Die” is sponsored by the Utah Film Circuit: Moab, an initiative of the Grand County Public Library and the Utah Film Center. The monthly screening series feature the best dramatic and documentary films from around the world.

“Love Free or Die” was chosen as a documentary covering LGBQ issues to coincide with the Moab Pride Festival.

“The issue of homosexuality and Christianity is a subject of ongoing debate. We felt the content of this month’s film tied in with this weekend’s Moab Pride Festival by focusing on love and acceptance rather than spreading hatred through fear of difference,” by Sallie Hodges, outreach coordinator for the Utah Film Circuit: Moab.

Robinson was ordained the Bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church in 2003. His consecration, to which he wore a bullet-proof vest, caused an international stir, and he has lived with death threats every day since.

Robinson was married to a woman for two decades and is a father of two children. He has been married to a man for the last four years of a twenty-three-year relationship.

The film follows Robinson’s personal story as American churches debate whether or not lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are equal to heterosexuals in the eyes of God while our nation debates whether LGBT people are equal to heterosexuals in the eyes of the law.

In “Love Free or Die”, Bishop Robinson steps onto the world stage as he travels from small-town churches to Washington’s Lincoln Memorial to London’s Lambeth Palace calling for all to stand for equality – inspiring bishops, priests and ordinary folk to come out from the shadows and change history.

While Robinson never intended to be the poster boy for gay bishops, “Love Free or Die” demonstrates that he has become a beacon of hope for millions. His history-making church provides a model for other communities of faith to treat all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexuality.

“Love Free or Die” reunites the filmmaking team of Macky Alston and Sandra Itkoff who collaborated on “The Killer Within”.

Robinson holds the religious text of the Bible to be holy and sacred and the ensuing two millennia of church history to be relevant to the discussion, and is equally familiar with the secular and political debate going on in America today, and for whom same-sex marriage is a personal issue.

He has become one of the world’s leading religious spokesperson for gay rights and gay marriage.

Robinson recently published “God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage”, a book that makes the case for same-sex marriage using reasoned and religious argument.