Whoops! Shuster Discovers Rev. Lowery Doesn't Support Gay Marriage

Given some of the reactions to an item I wrote yesterday about Barney Frank's objections to Rick Warren giving the invocation at the inauguration, let me state for the record that I lean libertarian on marriage.  On the one hand, I don't like courts substituting their judgment for legislatures or the will of the people.  But in the long run, I think it might be better for government to recognize that marriage is a religious or spiritual institution, and confine its role to enforcing agreements between partners.

That said, I can't help but chuckle at the way the MSM is twisting itself into knots over the Rick Warren issue.  The latest, most entertaining episode occured on this evening's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, on MSNBC. David Shuster discovered that, contrary to his presumption, civil rights pioneer Rev. Joseph Lowery, also on the inaugural program, does not support gay marriage!

Shuster did his best to pick a fight between the two pastors. But not only did the Rev. Lowery refuse to go down that path, Shuster discovered, presumably to his dismay, that Lowery joins with Warren in seeing marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

SHUSTER: You've spent your entire career crusading for civil rights for all Americans. In 2000, you gave a speech at the general convention of the United Methodist Church in defense of gay clergy.  Recently you said to Southern Voice: "I'm strongly opposed to propositions or amendments that put into law any discrimination against citizens because of sexual orientation." So again, isn't it incumbent upon you to take a position now given that you have spoken out before?

JOSEPH LOWERY: No. That's not my job at this instance. I differ with the young pastor who's going to give the [invocation].  I differ with him sharply on his position on this issue. I don't think we ought to put into law any discriminatory action against people because of race, or ethnicity or sexual orientation. I oppose that. But that doesn't stop me from being on a program with him.

SHUSTER: Fair enough. But is it incumbent upon you then, at that program, or at least elsewhere, to make those sharp differences clear?  To say, you know what: I took a very different view on Proposition 8.  I support gay marriage. Others do not, but it's important that my voice be heard.

LOWERY: Well, I've never said I support gay marriage. I support gay rights and I support civil unions. Like a whole lot of people, I have some difficulty with the term gay marriage. Because deep in my heart, deeply rooted in my heart and mind, marriage is associated with man and woman. So I have a little cultural shock with that. But I certainly support civil unions, and that gay partners ought to have all the rights that any other citizens have in this country.
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Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.