A gay rights
group has urged Barack Obama to cut ties with a gospel
singer who it says spreads false information about
homosexuality being a choice.
is among several gospel singers scheduled to raise money
for the Illinois senator and Democratic presidential
candidate at a concert in South Carolina this weekend.
drawn attention from gay rights activists for his views on
''I don't believe
that it is the intention of God,'' McClurkin said
Monday in a telephone interview. ''Sexuality, everything is
a matter of choice.''
McClurkin said he
does not believe in discriminating against homosexuals.
''What people do in their bedrooms and who they are as human
beings are two different things,'' he said.
In a statement,
Obama said he believes gays and lesbians are ''our
brothers and sisters'' and should be afforded the same
respect, dignity, and rights granted all other
consistently spoken directly to African-American religious
leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that
persists in some parts our community so that we can
confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of
equal rights in this country,'' Obama said. ''I
strongly believe that African-Americans and the LGBT
community must stand together in the fight for equal
rights. And so I strongly disagree with Reverend
McClurkin's views and will continue to fight for these
rights as president of the United States to ensure
that America is a country that spreads tolerance
instead of division.''
The statement did
not say whether McClurkin will still perform on the
urge Obama to part ways with this divisive preacher who is
clearly singing a different tune than the stated message of
the campaign,'' Wayne Besen, executive director of
Truth Wins Out, said in a statement.
At a forum on gay
issues in August, Obama argued that civil unions for
same-sex couples wouldn't be a ''lesser thing'' than
marriage. Obama belongs to the United Church of
Christ, which supports same-sex marriage, but Obama
has yet to go that far.
In a telephone
interview Monday, Besen said he admired Obama, but wasn't
ready to endorse him, especially considering McClurkin
taking part in the campaign's ''Embrace the Change''
''I think he'd be
a great president. But I think it's going to drive away
support from people who are on the fence such as myself,''
McClurkin is a
Grammy award-winner who performed at the Republican
National Convention in 2004. He told AP Radio in an
interview that September that he was ''once involved
with those desires and those thoughts,'' which he
attributed to being raped at 8 and 13.
thrust me into it, and then God delivered me from that and
gave me back who I really am and my true purpose,''
McClurkin said. (Ann Sanner, AP)