The inclusion pastor Louie Giglio as the benediction prayer at the Presidential Inauguration raised many questions and concerns by LGBT advocates after Think Progress discovered a virulent anti-gay sermon from Giglio’s past. Pastor Giglio voluntarily stepped down, leading several to offer their suggestions, including several from GLAAD. Eventually, the Presidential Inauguration Committee selected Rev. Luis Leon, the priest at St. John’s Church, an Episcopal parish near the White House and the one that Obama most frequently attends with his family. Rev. Leon was a safe backup. He had previously participated in the inauguration of President of George W. Bush, is personally LGBT-supportive, and is part of a denomination that has made incredible strides toward inclusion of LGBT people.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee is also including more LGBT and supportive faith leaders elsewhere in the inauguration festivities. Tuesday morning will start with an interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral. The service will include Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, moderator and international leader of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a denomination founded 45 years ago as a church open to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Dr. Wilson was installed at the National Cathedral as MCC's global Moderator in 2005 during an MCC service hosted by the Cathedral.
Dr. Wilson was one of the people mentioned by GLAAD as an appropriate choice to participate in the inauguration. She currently sits on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She also recently wrote a guest post for GLAAD, describing the MCC's relevance in today's religious landscape.
Dr. Wilson said, "It is profoundly meaningful to read the Bible during President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's second inaugural interfaith service. As I read, I will remember the hands laid on me seven years ago in this very cathedral by faith leaders who called me to serve all of God's beautifully diverse children, including LGBT people. President Obama prayerfully and respectfully stood up for LGBT equality during his campaign, and I am proud to stand with him."
The prayer service will also include The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral. The National Cathedral recently made the announcements that it will perform weddings for gay and lesbian couples. Also participating is the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, along with the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori. Both of whom, have a track record for LGBT inclusion.
The prayer services dates back to President George Washington. Today, participation by religious leaders from many traditions mark this service. It is a significant sign of progress that LGBT and affirming faith leaders will be included in this year’s inauguration. LGBT visibility reflects where America is today in relationship to its LGBT citizens.