President-elect Barack Obama has rejected criticism that his selection of Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration disrespects LGBTs, Yahoo! News reports.
America needs to "come together" even when there is disagreement on social issues, Obama said. He also reaffirmed that he was and will continue to be a "fierce advocate for equality" for LGBTs.
Warren founded and leads the evangelical Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. His wife, Kay, is executive director of Saddleback Church's HIV/AIDS Initiative. Their dedication to solving social issues such as poverty and HIV/AIDS has won them praise. However, LGBT activists take issue with their support of Proposition 8, which banned marriage for same-sex couples.
"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," declared the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights group in the United States.
According to the Yahoo! News article, Obama said a "wide range of viewpoints" will be represented during the inauguration. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said.
Click here to watch a POZ video of Rick Warren talking with President Bush about PEPFAR.