January 7, 2011 at 9:51 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Criticism of Gray’s inaugural choices

A large contingent of LGBT people attended the inaugural ceremonies of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Jan. 2.

Activists who backed Gray in the mayoral election last fall said they were hopeful that the new mayor would follow through with his campaign promise to listen to and act on the concerns of the LGBT community.

Some activists expressed concern that Gray did not mention LGBT-related issues in his inaugural speech and that he invited Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, an outspoken opponent of the city’s same-sex marriage law, to give the invocation at the inauguration.

“The goal of Vince’s speech was to set the stage for uniting our city,” said gay Democratic activist Lane Hudson, who worked as a volunteer on Gray’s election committee.

“The vision he laid out is one in which everyone has an equal stake in the future of the District and in return, everyone benefits equally from the District,” Hudson said.

Gay activist Bob Summersgill, a longtime advocate for the city’s same-sex marriage law who backed Gray in the election, said he viewed Gray’s decision to invite Wuerl to deliver the invocation as an insult to the LGBT community.

But gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein, who also worked on the Gray campaign, said Wuerl’s presence highlighted Gray’s status as a Catholic who supports marriage equality and LGBT rights.

“So it is Cardinal Wuerl who made the decision to speak at the inauguration of a mayor who vocally and actively supports positions different from the church,” Rosenstein said. “Vince Gray, like President Kennedy before him, understands that there is a clear separation of church and state.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • I have no idea why any gay org supported Gray and why the Blade posted five consecutive pro-Gray op-eds. Wuerl is a huge enemy of gay rights. That is not a surprise to me. Fenty brought us marriage equality and had the best school reformer in the US. Both are now gone and for Rosenstein to defend the speech of Wuerl is amazing twisting.

    • Maybe if Ms. Lee were involved in politics and government in DC she would understand that it was Vince Gray who more than anyone except David Catania is responsible for marriage-equality passing in DC. As Council Chair he supported the bill, spoke out for it when Mayor Fenty wouldn’t, and did so as a Catholic from Ward 7. That is surely a profile in courage. In addition it was Vince Gray who got the Council to speak out against hate crimes when Mayor Fenty wouldn’t and it was Vince Gray who met with the Rainbow Response Coalition and GLOV during the campaign when the Mayor wouldn’t.

      As with all candidates that anyone supports we will see what happens in the next four years. But Vince Gray knows full well that those of us involved in DC government and fighting for LGBT rights in the District will hold his feet to the fire.

      People should also be aware that Ms. Lee is active in GOProud and therefore we should take her comments and know from what perspective they come. GOProud as an organization opposed Representative Patrick Murphy(D-PA) who was one of the leading architects of the repeal of DADT. They were succesful along with the other Repulican groups in defeating Representative Murphy. Let us hope his replacement will stand up and fight for LGBT equality in the same way as Representative Murphy did.

      As I will do, as an LGBT and Democratic activist, with Mayor Gray and the other candidates I supported, I hope Ms. Lee will hold the the candidates she supported feet to the fire when it comes to supporting our community.

  • @Peter Rosenstein – you are such a Uncle Tom. Just keep on writing for the Blade and screwing the rest of us. Is there any wonder why NOTHING gets better in the District???? It’s just rearranging deck chairs. How is this ANY different that Obama inviting Rick Warren to give the presidential invocation? I didn’t have much respect for your articles, now I have less for you.

  • @Bob Summersgill — GRRRL, simmer down! The days of Old Democratic Party litany politics is over! Really, you are going to kick and scream because the new mayor didn’t mention us by name?!!! Or because some Catholic cardinal was invited to give the invocation? The only thing more ridiculous is that the Blade continues to report this drivel.

  • Frankly, since we defeated the Archdiocese on marriage equality, I can deal with the Cardinal being tossed the bones of an invocation and benediction. As to the Mayor’s speech, naturally I was shocked along with everyone else when he failed to deliver it the way Peter Rosenstein wrote it for him.
    And sure, his unity theme would have been more convincing had he bothered mentioning gay folk. But now that he’s taken office, actions speak louder than words. Vince’s broken promises, detailed and scrupulously sourced by Bob Summersgill on GLAA Forum–
    –are ahead of Adrian Fenty’s pace from four years ago. That’s more troubling than what he failed to say and whom he chose to fill the ceremonial role of homophobic clergyman.

    It is sad that Lou Chibbaro ignored these more substantive concerns (which I described to him) in favor of ceremonial issues.

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