Task Force responds to selection of Bishop Gene Robinson to deliver prayer at inauguration’s opening ceremony

January 12, 2009

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the selection of the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson, bishop of the New Hampshire diocese of the U.S. Episcopal Church, to deliver the invocation at the inaugural concert to be held at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, Jan. 18. It marks the opening ceremony of the inaugural festivities. Robinson, the first openly gay man to be named a bishop in the Anglican Communion, received a Task Force Leadership Award in 2004 for his outstanding service to the faith and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities. He was also a keynote speaker at the 2008 National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change.

President-elect Barack Obama adds to the historic nature of the transfer of power by also inviting civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Joseph E. Lowery to give the benediction at the presidential inauguration on Tuesday, Jan. 20, and the Rev. Dr. Sharon E. Watkins to give the sermon at the National Prayer Service on Wednesday, Jan. 21, becoming the first woman to deliver the sermon at this traditional inaugural event.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“President-elect Obama has made a stellar choice in selecting Bishop Gene Robinson to offer the prayer at the Lincoln Memorial to kick off the inaugural festivities. Bishop Robinson is an inspiration to millions worldwide because he lives out the ideals of courage, humility and truth speaking. This is certainly a good sign that our nation is indeed moving forward.

“President-elect Obama’s wise choice of Bishop Robinson, as well as that of Rev. Lowery and Rev. Watkins, continues to add to the historic nature of this inaugural celebration. For the first time in history, an out gay man will lead the nation in opening the transfer of power from one administration to another — and every person watching in the U.S. and around the world will have seen it. That, alone, is change.”


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.