The Green Party has issued a press release calling the selection of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural prayer, noting his influential anti-gay rights positions. The Greens also call for the U.S. to sign the United Nation’s statement endorsing universal decriminalization of homosexuality.
WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party activists challenged gay voters and advocates of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights to protest President-elect Barack Obama’s invitation to Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation.
“Unless we make our anger known now, Mr. Obama will continue to betray gay people,” said Starlene Rankin, co-chair of the party’s Lavender Green Caucus (http://www.lavendergreens.us). “Barack Obama’s claim to be a ‘fierce advocate for equality’ is not credible when he chooses a pastor notorious for his ill-informed and slanderous opinions about homosexuality and vigorous support for Proposition 8.”
“The invitation signals that Mr. Obama may repeat the Clinton approach to gay rights. President Clinton, taking gay votes for granted, signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act into law and authorized the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ military policy. We’ve had generations of gay rights advocates and other progressives insisting that we need to elect Democrats, then we’ll push them towards pro-gay agenda. Instead, gay people have remained second-class citizens in the Democratic Party and told to hush up when they’re politically inconvenient. For those tired of bipartisan retreats from promises of human rights and justice, the Green Party remains the party of real change in America,” added Ms. Rankin.
The Green Party’s national platform asserts that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans deserve all the rights, including marriage and the ability to raise a family, that all other Americans enjoy (http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/socjustice.html#999082). Greens strongly opposed Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in California.
Mr. Obama has said he opposed the passage of Propositon 8, but he also opposes full same-sex marriage rights, a position inconsistent with support for full and equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.
Pastor Warren’s public statements have revealed profound ignorance and bigotry on sexuality and on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in particular. Promoting passage of Proposition 8 in California, he has said that “in the hierarchy of evil… homosexuality is not the worst sin,” an admission that he believes gay people are evil because they are gay.
He has said that allowing same-sex marriage is like allowing “a brother and sister be together and call that marriage” and added that he is “opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage,” comparing same-sex marriage and homosexuality to incestuous relationships and pedophilia, which are crimes. Pastor Warren has also said that homosexuality is “not the natural way…. Certain body parts are meant to fit together,” but has not called for the invalidation of heterosexual marriages in which the spouses have engaged in sex outside of vaginal sexual intercourse.
Greens noted that Barack Obama’s choice of Rev. Warren for the inaugural prayer coincides with a declaration introduced by 66 countries in the UN calling for universal decriminalization of homosexuality (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7791063.stm). The US is the only major western nation that has refused to sign on, even though a Supreme Court decision has invalidated US laws against sodomy.
“Will the new Obama Administration maintain Bush policy and decline to have the US sign the declaration against criminalization of gay people?” asked Tim Casebolt, secretary of the Lavender Green Caucus.
“Barack Obama has asked Robert Gates to stay on as Secretary of Defense. Mr. Gates is not only likely to continue the Bush Administration’s military aggression around the world, but also the targeting of gay members of the armed forces for investigation, harassment, and discharge. The Obama Cabinet appointments have disappointed anyone who sincerely hoped for genuine change in 2009,” Mr. Casebolt added.