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Evangelical pastor says he loves ‘gays and straights,’ met Melissa Ethridge
LONG BEACH, Calif. – The first openly gay member of Congress said Sunday it was a mistake for President-elect Barack Obama to invite evangelical pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.
“Mr. Warren compared same-sex couples to incest. I found that deeply offensive and unfair,” Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, said in a broadcast interview.
“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 as a mark of great respect. And, yes, I think it was wrong to single him out for this mark of respect.”
Under fire for opposing gay marriage, influential evangelical pastor Warren said Saturday that he loves Muslims, people of other religions, Republicans and Democrats, and he also loves “gays and straights.”
Says it’s OK to disagree
The 54-year-old pastor and founder of Saddleback Church in Southern California told the crowd of 500 that it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to agree on everything all the time.
“You don’t have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand,” said Warren.
Warren also defended President-elect Barack Obama’s invitation that he give the invocation at the Jan. 20 inauguration in the keynote speech he delivered at the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s annual convention in Long Beach.
Obama’s choice of Warren earlier this week sparked outcry from gay rights and other liberal groups, who said choosing such an outspoken opponent of gay marriage was tantamount to endorsing bigotry.
“Three years ago I took enormous heat for inviting Barack Obama to my church because some of his views don’t agree (with mine),” he said. “Now he’s invited me.”
Warren said he prays for the same things for Obama that he prays for himself: integrity, humility and generosity.
Obama defends ‘wide range of view points’
Obama defended his choice on Thursday, saying that he has also invited Joseph Lowery, a Methodist minister and civil rights leader who supports same-sex marriage and gay rights, to deliver the benediction.
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One of the few notable losses for the left on Tuesday came in California, where Proposition 8, which “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry,” passed by a bit more than three percentage points, even as — or perhaps because — Barack Obama won the state by a whopping 24 points.
Much of that margin came from a surge of about half a million new black voters turning out to cast ballots for Obama in the safely blue state. Exit polls showed black voters favored the ban by a whopping 70-30 percent, while whites were slightly opposed and Hispanics evenly split.
Fallout over the apparent black-gay split within the Democratic coalition has been fierce, with Dan Savage claiming black homophobia, reports of racial slurs and abuse directed at blacks at a marriage equality rally on Thursday, and Andrew Sullivan, among others, calling for calm.
It’s one early sign of the diverse and sometimes divergent interests of members of the party base Obama will have to choose amongst and navigate between as president.
NEW YORK – Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is. In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions.
“I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that’s where we would go. I don’t support gay marriage,” Palin said. She said she believed traditional marriage is the foundation for strong families.
As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In a debate with Joe Biden, Palin said she was “tolerant” of gays.
McCain, an Arizona senator, is supporting a ballot initiative in his state this year that would ban gay marriage. But he has consistently and forcefully opposed a federal marriage amendment, saying it would usurp states’ authority on such matters.
As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden, Palin said she was “tolerant” of gays and said she supported certain legal protections for same-sex couples, like hospital visitation rights.
In the CBN interview, Palin also said she would speak out if she heard a supporter at a rally yell violent or threatening comments about Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.
“What we have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some atrocious and unacceptable things like ‘kill him,'” Palin said, referring to a Washington Post story two weeks ago about angry supporters at a Palin rally in Florida. “If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mike, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that’s unacceptable.”
CBN released excerpts of the interview Monday and planned to broadcast it in its entirety Tuesday.
Palin also claimed religion and God had been “mocked” during the campaign, although she offered no evidence to support that.
“What we have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some atrocious and unacceptable things like ‘kill him,'” Palin said. “If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mike, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that’s unacceptable.”
“Faith in God in general has been mocked through this campaign, and that breaks my heart and that is unfair for others who share a faith in God and choose to worship our Lord in whatever private manner that they deem fit,” she said.
Palin is a conservative Christian who was baptized and grew up attending Pentecostal churches. In September, Obama defended Palin’s religious beliefs and said it would be “offensive” to portray her faith as strange or wrong.
Palin also reaffirmed her view that Obama had been “palling around with terrorists” because of his association with Bill Ayers, a 1960s-era radical who helped found the violent Weather Underground group to protest the Vietnam war. The group was responsible for bombings of several government buildings.
“I would say it again,” she said.
Ayers and Obama live in the same Chicago neighborhood and have served together on charity boards. Ayers also hosted a house party for Obama when he was first running for the Illinois state Senate.