Custom Search

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gay Activists Angry At Obama

Barack Obama has chosen evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at the presidential inauguration which has sparked anger among gay activists because of Warren's support for Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

“Your invitation to Reverend Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at your inauguration is a genuine blow to LGBT Americans,” the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, wrote Obama Wednesday. “[W]e feel a deep level of disrespect when one of architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination.”

The rapid, angry reaction from a range of gay activists comes as the gay rights movement looks for an opportunity to flex its political muscle. Last summer gay groups complained, but were rebuffed by Obama, when an “ex-gay” singer led Obama’s rallies in South Carolina. And many were shocked last month when voters approved the California ban.

According to the official press release, the choices for participants on that date were "based on requests from the President-elect and the Vice President-elect."

Obama himself opposed California's amendment to ban same-sex marriages but he also opposes same-sex marriage in and of itself, which makes Warren a good choice for him personally despite Warren's support of Prop 8.

Like Solomonese, other gay leaders are speaking out against Obaa's choice of Warren.

The reaction Wednesday in gay rights circles was universally negative.

“It’s a huge mistake,” said California gay rights activist Rick Jacobs, who chairs the state’s Courage Campaign. “He’s really the wrong person to lead the president into office.

“Can you imagine if he had a man of God doing the invocation who had deliberately said that Jews are not going to be saved and therefore should be excluded from what’s going on in America? People would be up in arms,” he said.

The editor of the Washington Blade, Kevin Naff, called the choice “Obama’s first big mistake.”

“His presence on the inauguration stand is a slap in the faces of the millions of GLBT voters who so enthusiastically supported him,” Naff wrote, referring to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people. “This tone-deafness to our concerns must not be tolerated. We have just endured eight years of endless assaults on our dignity and equality from a president beholden to bigoted conservative Christians. The election was supposed to have ended that era. It appears otherwise.”

Other liberal groups are making those same points across the board.

Andrew Sullivan from The Daily Dish states "Shrewd politics, but if anyone is under any illusion that Obama is interested in advancing gay equality, they should probably sober up now."

Maha from the Mahablog complains "Warren isn’t just a walking insult to LGBT Americans; he’s a walking insult to our species, especially women. What Warren represents makes my skin crawl. His presence in the inaugural program is particularly galling to religious liberals, who have been vilified and marginalized for years by the so-called “Christian” Right. And then to have religion represented by this creep at the inauguration … . well, yes, people are angry. This is certainly understandable."

John Aravosis on AmericaBlog, says Obama's choice of Warren "is abominable."

He has a real whine fest going on over there at his blog about this.

Greg Sargent from TPM's reaction fits in with the other angry liberals by saying "As you regulars know, this blog has argued that it's premature for liberals to get too agitated about Obama's cabinet picks and that we should wait to let his policies do the talking. But I'm not sure how you can defend this one, even if the two men are friends and the choice doesn't necessarily have actual policy implications."

Eschaton blog simply names Obama as "Wanker of the day".

You can see all the whining, pissing and moaning and basic bitchfest going on about this decision over at memeorandum.