Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gay Bishop's Invocation Cut From HBO Broadcast

The GLBT community reacted with anger when Barack Obama chose Rick Warren, a fervent supporter of California's Proposition 8, to deliver the invocation at his inauguration ceremony today. To placate gays and lesbians, Obama added an openly gay Episcopalian bishop, Eugene Robinson, to the “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, which was televised live on HBO. The Obama Inauguration Committee, however, decided to keep Robinson's prayer as part of the pre-show, which meant it never aired. The Obama Committee tried to blame Robinson's omission on an "error", but the Washington Blade confirmed with HBO that the Committee made the call to exclude Robinson. '"The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation [by Robinson] as part of the pre-show,' HBO said in a statement." The Blade reports:

The omission of Robinson’s invocation prayer from the broadcast could be viewed by some gay activists as another slight by Obama and his inaugural planners. Activists raised strong objections last month when the Inaugural Committee announced that megachurch pastor and gay rights opponent Rick Warren would deliver the opening prayer at the inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20.

Warren emerged last year as a strong supporter of California’s Proposition 8, which repealed the state’s same-sex marriage law. In statements on behalf of the ballot proposition, Warren compared gay marriage to incest, drawing expressions of outrage from gay activists . . .

“Many in the gay community saw Robinson’s selection to deliver Sunday’s prayer as an olive branch,” said gay blogger Michael Jensen.

“Wherever the fault lies, this is yet another unfortunate turn involving GLBT concerns over Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the prayer at Obama’s inauguration,” Jensen said.

A gay band, LGBA, is scheduled to participate in today's inaugural parade. Eleven members of Indianapolis' Pride of Indy band are included in the group. The band made appearances at both Clinton inaugurations, but it did not march in the parade.

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