The US Episcopal Church has given its final approval to the appointment of a lesbian as assistant bishop of Los Angeles.

The Rev Mary Glasspool, 56, was selected in December but her appointment provoked anger from conservatives.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said at the time that she was “divisive” and that diocesan bishops should reject her.

Yesterday, diocese officials confirmed her appointment, which makes her only the second out gay bishop after Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson, who was consecrated in 2003.

Bishop Robinson’s ordination led to a moratorium on consecrating out gay bishops, which was lifted last year.

Rev Glasspool said in a statement given to AP: “I am … aware that not everyone rejoices in this election and consent, and will work, pray and continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the name of Jesus Christ.”

She and the other elected assistant bishop, Diane M Jardine Bruce, will serve Los Angeles Bishop J Jon Bruno. They also become the first female bishops in the diocese.

The women will be consecrated on May 15th.

Rev Glasspool has been with her partner Becki Sanderson for more than 20 years. She has been ordained for 28 years, having served congregations in Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

She has written before of her struggle to reconcile her sexuality and her faith, saying she questioned whether she could become a clergymember during her college years and whether God loved or hated her.