Luis León, Inclusive Episcopal Priest, to Give Inaugural Benediction

After the original pastor selected declined the invitation in the wake of an antigay sermon, Luis León, an LGBT-friendly Episcopal priest, will deliver the benediction when President Obama is inaugurated on January 21.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

January 16 2013 1:09 PM ET

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has asked Luis León, an LGBT-friendly Episcopal priest based in Washington, D.C., to issue the benediction at President Obama's inauguration Monday, reports The Huffington Post.

León, a priest at St. John's Church in D.C., where the president and his family frequently attend services, confirmed to Huffington Post that he would indeed deliver the benediction. León gave the invocation at President George W. Bush's 2005 inauguration, and his church has seen every sitting president since James Madison attend services, according to Huffington Post

León's parish reportedly welcomes gay members, and the Episcopal Church he works within ordains openly gay, noncelibate priests, has had a gay bishop, and recently announced that it would bless same-sex unions and ordain transgender priests. 

CNN first announced León's selection Tuesday, less than a week after the committee's prior selection, Louis Giglio, declined an invitation to issue the benediction after an antigay sermon the pastor gave in the 1990s surfaced. In rejecting the invitation, Giglio cited "those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration."

Tags: Religion

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