Bishop J Neil Alexander
By  | 

The bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta, the Reverend J. Neil Alexander, faced a tough audience as he tried to explain the Episcopal Church's decision to elect its first openly gay bishop.

For two hours Sunday, Alexander tried to answer churchgoers questions at a public meeting.

At the church's August convention, Episcopal leaders voted to confirm the election of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, an openly gay man. At the convention, Alexander voted in favor of Robinson's confirmation.

Churchgoer Dennis Bergin stood up yesterday and told Alexander that his wife and children decided to leave the Episcopal Church because of the decision.

At Grace Church in Gainesville, Alexander told the crowd that they had decided to confront the issue of homosexuality head-on after 30 years of debate.

He says other denominations have either put off the issue or pretend that they didn't have homosexuals in leadership positions.