Friday, August 2, 2013

Requiescat in Pace: Dr. Felipe Sanchez-Paris, Husband of Bishop E. Otis Charles

Felipe Sanchez Paris
Bishop Charles & Dr. Sanchez-Paris

The board and staff of Integrity USA were saddened to learn of the death on Tuesday night of Dr. Felipe Sanchez-Paris, husband of the Right Rev. E. Otis Charles, retired bishop of Utah.

"Felipe was a charming and delightful man who will be sorely missed," stated the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall, Integrity's President. "One of the many courageous stands he and Otis Charles took was in 2004 when they held a controversial public blessing for their relationship. It is people like Felipe who have laid the path we walk today."

Dr. Sanchez-Paris is a graduate of Georgetown University and received his doctorate from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  He served on the faculty of a number of universities, retiring in 2000 after 18 years as a Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Bakersfield. 

Bishop Charles, who served as Bishop of Utah from 1971-1986, came out as gay in 1993, the first Christian bishop to do so.  The couple met in 2001, and have been members of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco and involved with OASIS California, the diocesan LGBT ministry.  They were married in Los Angeles on October 29, 2008.

"Felipe was a man who embodied the fullness of life — a great intellect that was always routed through his compassionate heart," said the Right Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California, in a statement published July 31st.

Both Dr. Sanchez-Paris and Bishop Charles appear in Love Free or Die, the award-winning documentary about the episcopacy of the Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the recently-retired Bishop of New Hampshire whose election as an out gay man sent reverberations throughout the church.  

Bishop Robinson recalled the couple's testimony on the resolution to create a provisional rite for same-gender blessings, which was adopted at the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim.  "In our documentary film, Bishop Otis described his attempts at heterosexual life as a suit that just didn't fit. Then, he describes meeting the love of his life, Felipe, and 'the suit fit!'  Felipe sits beside him, radiating delight and joy at Otis' tribute to their love. We will all miss our beloved Felipe, but none more than his husband, Otis."

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