Dear Obama, why Rick Warren?

President-Elect Barack Obama
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, Illinois 60682

Dear President-Elect Obama:

Like many Americans, I was moved by your call for fundamental change in this election, and your victory indicates just how many Americans want change. I have also been encouraged that you have been doing work even before your inauguration to get the nation moved in the right direction, in order to bring the kinds of change we need.

As a member of Atticus Circle, a group of straight Americans who support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, I ask you to include gay rights into your administration’s priority list once you take office.

Though the 2008 elections brought your victory, it also brought a series of stunning defeats for LGBT equality. Though California’s Proposition 8 is receiving the most attention right now, you’re no doubt aware of similar measures against equal marriage rights in Arizona and Florida, as well as an Arkansas ballot measure restricting adoption rights.

Your recent selection of Rick Warren to lead an invocation for your inauguration presents an additional concern for me and my fellow LGBT equality supporters. While I understand your aim to be inclusive and reach out to a wide variety of groups, I find Warren’s public support of Proposition 8 to be inherently divisive.

He essentially advocates making LGBT Americans second-class citizens, denied the right to marry whom they love. Those of us who support gay equality consider this to be the civil rights issue of our time, and Warren is a vocal leader in denying this group of Americans their basic civil rights.

I implore you to champion the rights of LGBT Americans upon your inauguration. For the last eight years, we’ve had a president who was unwilling to hear our call for equal rights. I’d like to believe that your presidency will be different, and that we can someday teach future generations about the gains for LGBT rights made during your administration. Please don’t let Warren’s presence at your inauguration set the tone for the continuation of second-class status for our LGBT friends and family members.

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