Openly gay Episcopalian Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire endorsed Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama yesterday.

Bishop Robinson says he was lured to Obama’s campaign because of the Illinois Democrat’s experience with racism and discrimination.

“Frankly, I don’t think there’s any major candidate that is where we in the gay community would hope they would be on our issues,” the bishop told AP said.

“That being said, I would say the senator has been enormously supportive of our issues. We appreciate his support for civil unions.”

Robinson says he hopes to persuade Obama to embrace marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Obama supports civil unions and rights for gay couples, but stops short of supporting gay marriage.

Obama’s campaign put out a news release announcing that he has the support of New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson.

The Obama campaign identified Robinson as “a civil rights leader and a leading voice in the faith community.”

He is more widely known as America’s first openly gay Episcopalian bishop whose election in 2003 fuelled massive debate about Scripture and sexuality in the Anglican Communion.

Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said it was “just the latest example of candidates misusing religious leaders for political gain.”

According to the Washington Post, Gaddy said he was sending a letter to all the presidential candidates asking them not to make endorsements that appear to be speaking on behalf of their house of worship or denomination.

“In recent presidential campaigns little concern has been in evidence about the negative consequences that certain political strategies bring about for houses of worship,” Gaddy’s letter read, reports the Post.

Antony Cuesta

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