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.”