American President George W Bush has appointed a Baptist minister who opposes gay marriage to a council on HIV and AIDs.

The President named Rev. Herbert Lusk, a former American football star, as one of five new members of the presidential AIDS advisory panel, according to a current panel member.

Mr Lusk is also member of the board of advisers for the Alliance for Marriage, a conservative religious organisation that lobbies for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Other members appointed to the AIDS council include Troy Benavidez, a member of the national board of directors of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group based in Washington, D.C.

Stacey Sobel, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Centre for Lesbian Gay Civil Rights, told the Washington Blade she is not aware of Mr Lusk taking a public position on gay rights legislation or other gay rights issues pending before the Philadelphia or Pennsylvania governments.

Existing members of the AIDS advisory council learned about Lusk’s appointment and the appointment of four other members through an e-mail announcement they received earlier this month from Joseph Grogan, the council’s executive director.