WASHINGTON - Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay civil rights organization, released the following statement in response to Sen. Barack Obama's South Carolina Gospel Tour featuring anti-gay gospel singer, Rev. Donnie McClurkin:
"I spoke with Sen. Barack Obama today and expressed to him our community's disappointment for his decision to continue to remain associated with Rev. McClurkin, an anti-gay preacher who states the need to 'break the curse of homosexuality.' There is no gospel in Donnie McClurkin's message for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. That's a message that certainly doesn't belong on any Presidential candidate's stage."
"I did thank him for announcing he would be adding an openly gay minister as part of the tour and for his willingness to call on religious leaders to open a dialogue about homophobia.We hope that Sen. Obama will move forward and facilitate face to face meetings with religious leaders, like Rev. McClurkin, and the GLBT community to confront the issue of homophobia."
"We also call on all of the Presidential campaigns to look within their ranks of supporters and make the same commitment to engage in a dialogue among differing views around issues of equality and fairness for our community."
Rev. McClurkin, an "ex-gay" gospel singer and minister who has called homosexuality a "curse", has repeatedly stated his opposition to homosexuality as being against "the intention of God."
On August 9, Sen. Obama joined the leading Democratic presidential candidates in addressing issues important to the GLBT community at the Logo/HRC Foundation presidential forum in Los Angeles. During his interview with panelists Joe Solmonese, singer/activist Melissa Etheridge, and journalists Margaret Carlson and Jonathan Capehart, Sen. Obama addressed and the issue of homophobia in the black church.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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