Senator Barack Obama claims he believes that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters, but according to the president of the nation’s largest gay rights organisations, actions speak louder than words, and a scheduled concert this Sunday with a notoriously homophobic gospel singer sends the wrong message to the LGBT community.

According to The New York Times, Human Rights Campiagn president Joe Solmonese urged Obama via phone today to cancel gospel singer Donnie McClurkin’s appearance at a gospel concert to promote his bid for president in South Carolina this weekend.

A self-proclaimed “ex-gay” who regularly preaches against homosexuality, McClurkin told the Associated Press on Monday:

“I don’t believe that it is the intention of God. Sexuality, everything is a matter of choice.”

According to the Times, Obama’s campiagn has yet to cancel McClurkin’s appearance but has extended an invite to openly gay minister, Rev. Andy Sidden, to speak on the concert programme.

Solomenese said that while the invite was a step forward, it didn’t address the issue. In a statement, he continued:

“There is no gospel in Donnie McClurkin’s message for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. That’s a message that certainly doesn’t belong on any Presidential candidate’s stage.”

On Monday, Senator Obama addressed the issue on his website:

“I have clearly stated my belief that gays and lesbians are our brothers and sisters and should be provided the respect, dignity and rights of all other citizens,” he wrote.

“I have consistently spoken directly to African-American religious leaders about the need to overcome the homophobia that persists in some parts of our community so that we can confront issues like HIV/AIDS and broaden the reach of equal rights in this country.

“I strongly believe that African Americans and the LGBT community must stand together in the fight for equal rights.

“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.”

Bryan Ochalla and Ross von Metzke © 2007 Gay Wired; All Rights Reserved