This makes us uncomfortable. New Hampshire’s gay Episcopal Bishop, Gene Robinson, has checked himself into rehab for alcohol dependency.
Now, we’re the first ones to say that being gay and being a drunk go hand in hand. Check out Wonkette lately, for example. But for a person like Robinson, there’s just so much more pressure on him to be a good example. After all, his appointment caused a rift in the international factions of one of the world’s largest religious organizations. Even party boy George W. Bush kicked the habit when he realized that he was going to be a prominent public figure. Every time Robinson comes out with a sentence like this:
“In his letter, Robinson, 58, said he has been dealing with alcoholism for years and had considered it ‘as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether.’”
…it makes us involuntarily shudder. It’s not going to be very difficult for critics of Robinson to pick up on his “failure of will or discipline” and lump homosexuality as just another one of his weaknesses, to be fixed.
Then again, for how many gay people was alcohol the raison d’etre for their first foray into gayland? How many of us would have really made that first leap without a few cocktails to guide our nervous pubescent hands steadily into an Jack Twist-style reach around? In a way, in fact, we owe alcohol a lot. Robinson was just paying the piper.
We think this is the spin that the Episcopalian publicists should aim for. Or this: “Hey – at least Robinson was getting drunk and sleeping with someone his own age…”