Task Force responds to the removal of the Rev. Louie Giglio from inaugural program

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force responds to the announcement that the Rev. Louie Giglio, a minister with a history of anti-gay statements, as been removed from the inauguration program where he was scheduled to give the benediction.

Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, says:

We let the White House know of our grave concerns about the choice of the Rev. Louie Giglio — a minister with a history of anti-gay statements who has engaged in spiritual abuse of LGBT people — to deliver a prayer at the inauguration ceremony. Having him deliver the benediction was a divisive choice, and we applaud his removal from the program. Furthermore, we commend Obama’s selection of Cuban-American gay poet Richard Blanco as inaugural poet, which had also served to magnify how out of step the choice of Giglio was. We are hopeful that Obama will now choose a faith leader who embraces fairness, equality and the ideals the president himself has called the nation to uphold.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee, meanwhile, issued the following statement today on the Rev. Giglio’s decision to withdraw from the inaugural ceremony:

 We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his selection and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and diversity of our country at this Inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver the benediction in large part for his leadership in combating human trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.