Speaking on Larry King Live,
Vice President-elect Joe Biden said the gay and lesbian community had
“nothing to worry about” concerning Barack Obama's commitment to
Obama's choice of Rev. Rick Warren to
give the invocation at his inauguration sent shivers up the spines
of gay activists last week. Warren supports the outlawing of
abortion in all cases and is a staunch gay rights opponent. But his
moderate tone on AIDS, poverty and climate change have made him
controversial among social conservatives.
Gay activists say Warren is homophobic.
They point out that his evangelical Saddleback megachurch in
Southern California bans gays and lesbians from attendance, he
supports the controversial ex-gay movement that claims gays can be
“cured” through prayer, and, most importantly, he supported the
passage of Proposition 8 – the California constitutional amendment
that yanked back the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in the
In that heated gay marriage debate,
Warren likened gay marriage to an incestuous relationship, pedophilia
and even polygamy.
Openly gay Massachusetts Representative
Barney Frank (Democrat) said the pick was a mistake.
“Mr. Warren compared same-sex couples
to incest. I found that deeply offensive and unfair,” Rep. Frank
said on CNN's Late Edition.
“If he was inviting the Rev. Warren
to participate in a forum and to make a speech, that would be a good
thing,” Frank said. “But being singled out to give the prayer at
the inauguration is a high honor. It has traditionally given a mark
of great respect. And, yes, I think it was wrong to single him out
for this mark of respect.”
But speaking with King, Biden said
Obama's commitment to the gay community was firm.
“Barack Obama said you've got to
reach out,” Biden told King about the Warren controversy. “You've
got to reach a hand of friendship across the aisle and across
philosophies in this country.”
“We can't continue to be a red and
blue country. We can't be divided like we have been. And he's made
good on his promise.”
“And I would say to the gay and
lesbian community, they have nothing to worry about. Barack Obama,
every aspect of his life, every aspect of his public life, and every
commitment he's made relating to equality for all people, will be
things that he will stick with and that they should view this in the
spirit in which he offered the opportunity to – to Mr. Warren,”
At the end of the interview, King asked
Biden if we're going to be OK as nation.
“Yes, we are,” Biden answered.
“We're going to be OK because of the American people. They have
more grit, determination and courage than you can imagine.”