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Gay group chides Obama for prayer breakfast ties

President Obama was blasted by a gay-rights group for attending the National Prayer Breakfast because the sponsoring Christian group has ties to anti-gay legislation abroad.

Gay group chides Obama for prayer breakfast ties

President Barack Obama listens during a meeting with local leaders and law enforcement officials while participating in a roundtable discussion at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Minneapolis, Minn. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama listens during a meeting with local leaders and law enforcement officials while participating in a roundtable discussion at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, in Minneapolis, Minn. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama, who linked the gay rights movements with earlier struggles for women and African Americans in his second inaugural address, came under fire from at least one gay group Thursday for attending a prayer breakfast sponsored by a group with “global ties to homophobic violence.”

The National Prayer Breakfast, attended by presidents of both parties over the years as well as by members of Congress and other high-ranking government officials, is sponsored by The Fellowship Foundation, a conservative Christian group popularly known as “The Family.”

GetEqual, a group campaigning for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, cited the group’s support of anti-gay legislation around the world and its reported ties to Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati, sponsor of a bill that would establish the death penalty for those found guilty of having same-sex relationships.

"For another year, President Obama has chosen to set aside his stated values of inclusion in order to attend the National Prayer Breakfast - an event rooted in hatred of LGBT people and covered up by pastries and coffee," said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL, and a seminary graduate. "There are so many communities of faith that fully embrace LGBT people and that are rooted in social justice -- we really don't understand why President Obama continues to give his permission for 'The Family' to support killing LGBT folks abroad.”

At a past prayer breakfast, Obama spoke about the issue, saying he thought that liberals and conservatives, regardless of their differences, could agree “it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are - whether it's here in the United States or... more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed, most recently in Uganda.”

This year, Obama did not mention gay rights or any other social issue during his 19-minute remarks at the prayer breakfast, according to news reports.

Cronk argued that by his continued attendance at the yearly ritual, Obama helps to legitimize The Family and its agenda.

Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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Inquirer staff writer Thomas Fitzgerald blogs about national politics.

Reach Thomas at tfitzgerald@phillynews.com.

Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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