In an about face on gay rights and the church, Obama's inaugural team has found a replacement for Pastor Louie Giglio, who dropped out of the January 21 benediction last week after his sermons on "ex-gay therapy" surfaced. The new pick is Rev. Louis León, an Episcopal priest from St. John's Church in Washington, D.C., also known as the "Church of Presidents" and a gay-friendly parish. "León's benediction will mark his second appearance on the inauguration stage. In 2005 he delivered the invocation for the President George W. Bush's second inauguration," reports CNN.
The choice is an about-face from Giglio, but also from the man who gave the inaugural benediction in 2008, Rick Warren, who at the time was so anti-gay marriage as to equate it with incest. Warren has since changed his stance on gay people, which is it's own different controversy. In his own in previously unreported (and apparently not vetted) sermons, Giglio appeared to have endorsed conversion therapy and biblical passages that could be interpreted as supporting the execution of gay people.
Luis is a departure from that. As Think Progress notes, Luis's "parish is known to welcome gay members in addition to the other inclusive positions of the Episcopal Church, including blessing same-sex unions and ordaining non-celibate LGBT priests," and his church shows up on a database of gay-friendly churches in the country.
"You don't get used to this. I'm just as nervous now as I was the first time," León told CNN. "From the moment someone asks you to do that, your wheels are spinning with what to say. So my wheels were spinning now."