Evangelical Lutheran Church of America elects first openly gay bishop

The Rev. R. Guy Erwin. (Photo: Extraodinary Lutheran Ministries)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has elected its first openly gay bishop.

In a press release, church officials say Rev. R. Guy Erwin was selected for a six-year term Friday at a church annual assembly.

The church's rules changed in 2009 to allow gays and lesbians to be ordained in the nation's largest Lutheran denomination.

Erwin currently serves as a pastor at Faith Lutheran Church and a professor of Lutheran Confessional Theology at California Lutheran University.

Officials say the "partnered gay man" is also the first Native American to be elected. Erwin is part Osage Indian.