Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rick Warren and the Inauguration

By Sara M. Taylor, Attorney at Law

The key issue in this matter, is that Rick Warren played a primary role in passing this proposition by working with the pro-Prop 8 folks to intentionally mislead the voters into thinking that if they voted against this proposition, religious liberties would be affected. The California Supreme Court has named persons with homosexual orientation as a protected class who deserve equal protection under the Constitution of California. Much like interracial marriages in the 1950’s and 1960’s, this is a civil rights issue. It is not an issue of morality. Churches are allowed to act as they wish with respect to this matter (women are a protected class but no action can be taken against churches who still discriminate against women).

By inviting Rick Warren, Obama has failed to take a stance on the lies propagated by Rick Warren to convince the California electorate. Obama needs to clearly distinguish the constitutional rights of people and the equal protection due them, from the religious and moral rhetoric the conservative churches have used to confuse the issue and scare people into voting to deny rights.

In the 60’s people justified denying equal rights to blacks and whites to marry on outdated scriptural passages that favored slavery. The same is true now. The evangelical Christians are using misleading quotations and tortured interpretations of the Bible to deny people civil rights. That is unjust. As Whoopi says, if you do not agree with gay marriage, don’t marry a gay. It is that simple. We are a protected class who are entitled to full protections of our government, and the full rights and responsibilities of that government. This does not infringe on religious liberties.

No presidential elect should choose a divisive minister to invoke the blessings of God on this nation. Had another minister worked to deny civil rights to people who are disabled, women, persons of color, and/or different races, he or she would not be considered for this sacred trust. The fact that Obama does not equate his selection of Warren with discrimination is indicative of the fact that he does not get it with respect to the LGBT community.

We need to speak out and let Obama know that he does not understand, or that the message he is sending is that he does not understand the full protections that should be afforded the LGBT community. The irony of Mr. Obama standing to take the oath of office to “defend and protect the Constitution of the United States” after an invocation by a minister who has vocally supported the actions of the majority to deny the LGBT minority their full equality in this society is appalling. Obama needs to be told that in no uncertain terms by our community – that this is about civil rights. The symbolism of Mr. Warren irrevocably confuses that issue.