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Obama's inaugural benediction pastor Lowery clarifies stance on gay marriage

by Nick Cargo

Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, President-elect Obama's choice to deliver the benediction at the upcoming Inauguration, said on Tuesday that he hesitates to support civil marriage for same-sex couples. He does, however, support civil unions. Lowery will appear with Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church founder and author of The Purpose-Driven Life, who is slated to deliver the invocation.

Warren has faced criticism over statements comparing same-sex relationships to incest and pedophilia. He was also a vocal supporter of California's Proposition 8. The President-elect has defended his inaugural lineup in the spirit of unity with those with whom one does not always agree.

"I differ with [Rick Warren] sharply on his position on this issue," Lowery told MSNBC's David Shuster. "I don't think we ought to put into law any discriminatory action against people because of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. I oppose that. But that doesn't stop me from being on a program with him."

"I've never said I support gay marriage," he added. "I support gay rights, and I support civil unions. Like a whole lot of people, I have some difficulty with the term 'gay marriage' because...deeply rooted in my heart and mind, marriage is associated with 'man and woman.' So I have a little cultural shock with that, but I certainly support civil unions, and that gay partners ought to have all the rights that any other citizens have in this country."

Video of the exchange follows:


Originally published on Wednesday December 24, 2008.

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