His coming out in 1995 coincided with the decline of their music. Moral of the lesson: remain heterosexual:17:
I realize you're joking around, but as fan I feel compelled to correct this statement.
New Adventures in Hi-Fi was released in 1996 and is a great record. As I recall it's not only a fan favorite but the critics liked it as well.
Coincidently, it's the last record with Bill Berry. The fans recognize that it was the departure of the drummer that sunk the band, not the outing of Stipe.