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Friday, December 19, 2008

Letter from NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, re: Selection of Rick Warren for Inaugural Invocation

Emmett Beliveau
Executive Director
Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009 Washington, D.C. 20599
December 18, 2008

Dear Mr. Beliveau:

I write to express my profound objection to the selection of Rick Warren to perform the invocation at President-elect Obama’s inauguration.

Pastor Warren is publicly and rabidly committed to denying same-sex couples the right to civil marriage, and all of the rights and responsibilities that civil marriage provides. Yet what is so offensive here is not the mere selection of a religious leader who is opposed to same-sex marriage. It is the selection of a man who has used his position to try to deny others their civil rights, and to create huge divisions among Americans.

In his acceptance speech, President-elect Obama called on all Americans to come together for the good of the country. The message of divisiveness and hatred preached by Pastor Warren stands in direct contrast to the President-elect’s call.

The choice of a minister to perform the invocation at the inauguration is a highly visible role, and an honor. While I understand, indeed support, the need for all Americans to come together, regardless of our individual positions on varying issues, I don’t believe the President-elect or the Inaugural Committee should be elevating to the inaugural stage someone who is actively seeking to deny the civil rights of millions of Americans.

To the President-elect’s credit, this year’s election reflected a historic level of involvement on the part of the LGBT community, and has raised great hopes for the future of our community. Choosing Rick Warren for this role threatens to denigrate what should be the beginning of a new era of promise and equality.

Warren’s selection is an insult, not only to LGBT Americans, but to all those who have ever fought for civil rights. I urge the Inaugural Committee to replace Rev. Warren with a religious leader who actually embodies President-elect Obama’s promise of hope and change, and his promise of a country united.


Christine C. Quinn

Speaker, New York City Council

Sent from:
Anthony Hogrebe
Deputy Press Secretary
New York City Council


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