E. Otis Charles

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The Right Reverend
Edgar Otis Charles
Bishop of Utah
Church Episcopal Church
Diocese Utah
In office 1971-1986
Predecessor Richard S. Watson
Successor George F. Bates
Ordination 1951
Consecration 1971
Personal details
Born (1926-04-24)April 24, 1926
Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA
Died December 26, 2013(2013-12-26) (aged 87)
San Francisco, California, USA
Nationality American
Spouse Elvira Latta (1951-1993)
Felipe Sanchez-Paris (2008-2013)
Children 5

Edgar Otis Charles[1] (called Otis; April 24, 1926 – December 26, 2013) was the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah.[2]


Charles was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and first served as a priest in Connecticut. From 1968 until 1982 he was a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission, which developed the 1979 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. In 1971, he was elected Bishop of Utah. He was active in the peace movement, and opposed Nevada and Utah being launching sites for the MX missile. In the House of Bishops, Charles was chair of the Prayer Book Committee and a member of the Bishops' Committee on Racism. Charles became Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in 1985. Charles also has significant academic achievements, including a Doctorate of Divinity, and a Doctorate of Sacred Theology.

Personal life

Charles was married for 42 years and had five children.[3] After his retirement in 1993, Charles publicly came out as gay, the first Christian bishop ever to take such a step.[4] Soon after this he and his wife divorced.[why?][citation needed] He relocated to San Francisco, where he helped to found the California branch of the Oasis Commission. He married Dr. Felipe Sanchez-Paris on September 29, 2008.[5] The two appear in the documentary film Love Free or Die, testifying about a resolution directing the Episcopal Church to create a provisional rite for the blessing of same-gender relationships at its 2009 General Convention in Anaheim, California.[6] Sanchez-Paris died on July 30, 2013.[7] Bishop Charles died on December 26, 2013, in San Francisco, California.


  1. The Free Lance-Star – August 14, 1972 – Consecration critique stirs Utah controversy
  2. "Charles, Otis. Utah". Retrieved 2007-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "The Battle over Same-Sex Marriage". San Francisco Chronicle. 2004-04-29. Retrieved 2011-11-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Profile: Right Rev. Otis Charles, DD, STD". The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Religious Archives Network. 2003-06-03. Retrieved 2007-06-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. http://www.americantowns.com/ca/sanfrancisco/news/first-openly-gay-bishop-otis-charles-and-dr-felipe-sanchezparis-marriage-134456
  6. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/faith/53324531-142/robinson-bishop-church-film.html.csp%0A
  7. http://www.diocal.org/pcn/news/memoriam-felipe-sanchez-paris

External links

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Richard S. Watson
8th Bishop of Utah
Succeeded by
George E. Bates