Obama Picks Warren: An Olive Branch?

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Many Republicans believe President-elect Barack Obama's selection of Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren to lead the invocation at the presidential inauguration next month is no more than an olive branch to social conservatives.

They point to Obama's record and platform on gay rights as proof that the new president's administration will promote a gay-friendly agenda.

The President-elect made clear Thursday that despite protests by gay groups on Warren's selection, he remains committed to their cause.

"It is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian americans," Obama told a room of assembled press.

"It is something that I have been consistent on and something that I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency."

Where Does Obama Stand?

However, Obama's position is somewhat complicated, giving each side reason for both hope and fear.

For starters, Obama says he personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman. But the President-elect opposed Proposition 8 --California's marriage amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Obama has made it clear that he supports civil unions for gays. He wants to repeal the defense of marriage act, which prohibits federal legal rights and benefits for gay couples.

He also favors expanding adoption rights for gays. And he opposes a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.

Obama's position on abortion also shows that Warren's selection will not substantively change that debate. He has promised to sign the Freedom of Choice act, which would do away with abortion restrictions at the federal, and possibly, the state level.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

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