Concord, N.H. The Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, is being treated for alcoholism, a step that surprised friends and colleagues but seemed unlikely to threaten his position in the church.
A key administrative committee said it stood by Robinson, whose 2003 election as bishop of New Hampshire caused a furor in worldwide Anglicanism because he lives with a same-sex partner.
Robinson's assistant at the Diocese of New Hampshire, the Rev. Tim Rich, said Tuesday that a growing awareness of his problem - rather than a crisis - led to Robinson's decision.
In a 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."