Gay groups are protesting the choice of
Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at President-elect
Barack Obama's inauguration.
Human Rights Campaign, the nation's
largest advocate for gay and lesbian rights, issued a statement on
Wednesday calling the choice “disrespectful” to gay and lesbian
“We feel a deep level of disrespect
when one of the architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is
given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination,”
HRC President Joe Solmonese said.
The Reverend Rick Warren is the
spiritual leader of millions and heads the prominent evangelical
Saddleback Church in Southern California.
Warren and Obama first met in 2006 at
a Saddleback AIDS forum where the president-elect challenged him on
preaching against contraception.
A prominent leader in the evangelical
movement, Warren supports the outlawing of abortion in all cases and
is a staunch gay rights opponent.
“Rick Warren has not sat on the
sidelines in the fight for basic equality and fairness,” Solmonese
said. “In fact, Rev. Warren spoke out vocally in support of
Proposition 8 [the gay marriage ban] in California saying: 'There is
no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to
appease 2 percent of our population ... This is not a political issue
– it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about.'
Furthermore, he continues to misrepresent marriage equality as
silencing his religious views.”
Warren, however, has gone further by
likening gay marriage to an incestuous relationship, pedophilia and
In an interview with Beliefnet.com
editor Steven Waldman, Warren said: “I'm opposed to having a
brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I'm opposed
to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I'm
opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.”
“Do you think, though, that they are
equivalent to having gays getting married?” Waldman asked.
“Oh, I do,” Warren answered.
Solmonese urged Obama to reconsider his