A coalition of gay men and lesbians upset over Rev. Rick Warren’s inclusion in the commemoration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in Atlanta next week will air their displeasure in a press conference on Monday.
The Atlanta Black LGBT Coalition, which last month called on Warren to be ousted from the Jan. 19 events at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue, will discuss the matter during an event on the steps of the State Capitol at 12 p.m. The coalition is among groups planning a protest during Waren’s stop in Atlanta.
The press conference comes on the opening day of the Georgia General Assembly, which means the area will be flooded with media, lawmakers, lobbyists and the public. The steps are a symbolic place for Atlanta’s gay community, which held a vocal rally there on Nov. 15 over the passage of Proposition 8 in California, the Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance each November and a 2004 rally over Amendment 2, a voter-approved initiative that banned same-sex marriage in Georgia.
The coalition says Warren’s appearance is a slap in the face to gay men and lesbians.
“The selection of Pastor Rick Warren as the keynote speaker at this service is an affront to the very spirit of non-violent social justice and inclusivity in which the King Center was founded,” says a prepared statement announcing the Jan. 12 press conference. “Warren’s widely broadcast statements regarding homosexuality and women’s rights to reproductive choice threaten our progress toward achieving a more just and loving society. Assigning Rev. Warren such a prominent role does not build bridges between communities. This choice drives more wedges between the many disenfranchised that are pitted against each other by the agents of racism, sexism and homophobia.”
Warren’s church is again in the news for saying in a video on its web site that domestic violence is no excuse for divorce. Warren will deliver the invocation during President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, which has also angered some gay activists.