Monday, January 12, 2009

Openly gay bishop to offer inaugural prayer

Arguably one of the most inspirational figures within the movement for LGBT rights, openly gay New Hampshire V. Gene Robinson will offer a prayer to open President-elect Barack Obama's first inauguration event at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday.

I had the distinct privilege of interviewing Robinson in June 2004. I also had the honor of attending his 2003 consecration at the Whittemore Center at the University of New Hampshire. Robinson's never-ending compassion and empathy for those he routinely describes as "at the margins" continues to generate enormous good will in my native New Hampshire and around the world.

Some cynics may try to point out Obama's decision to select Robinson is an attempt to deflect attention away from the controversy over tapping the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural convocation. Robinson, a long-time Obama supporter, himself criticized the decision in an interview with the Concord [N.H.] Monitor last month. He added, however, he feels his presence in Washington will send a powerful message.

"It's important for any minority to see themselves represented in some way," Robinson told the newspaper. "Whether it be a racial minority, an ethnic minority or, in our case, a sexual minority. Just seeing someone like you up front matters."


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