Pastor Rick Warren
(All About You God / Creative Commons)

LGBT and gender activists have expressed outrage that US President-elect Barack Obama has chosen a homophobic evangelical preacher to play a key role at his inauguration.

Reverend Rick Warren has been invited to deliver the invocation at the 56th Presidential Inauguration in Washington on January 20th where Obama will be officially sworn into office.

Warren is opposed to gay marriage and the right to abortion. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) he spoke out vocally in support of Proposition 8, which recently banned same-sex marriage in California.

“There is no need to change the universal, historical definition of marriage to appease two percent of our population… This is not a political issue, it is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about,” he was quoted as saying.

In a letter to Obama, Joe Solmonese, the president of the HRC, said that “by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table.”

Solmonese went on to say: “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.”

He urged Obama to reconsider his decision.

CNN has reported that Linda Douglass, a spokeswoman for Obama, defended the President-elect’s choice of Warren.

“This is going to be the most inclusive, open, accessible inauguration in American history,” she said.

“The president-elect certainly disagrees with him on [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] issues, but it has always been his goal to find common ground with people with whom you may disagree on some issues.”

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