Preacher Rick Warren, who spoke out against gay marriage, has been accused of lying after he said he had never supported Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.
The preacher, who was chosen by Barack Obama to deliver the Invocation at the Presidential Inauguration, urged his congregation to support Proposition 8 in a video released two weeks before the November vote.
Appearing on Larry King Live on Tuesday night, he said: “In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay-marriage activist. I never have been, never will be.
“During the whole Proposition 8 thing, I never once went to a meeting, never once issued a statement, never – never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going.
“The week before the vote, somebody in my church said, ‘Pastor Rick, what do you think about this?’ And I sent a note to my own members that said, I actually believe that marriage is – really should be defined, that that definition should be – say between a man and a woman.
“And then all of a sudden out of it, they made me, you know, something that I really wasn’t. And I actually… there were a number of things that were put out. I wrote to all my gay friends – the leaders that I knew – and actually apologised to them. That never got out . . . .”
“When asked by King how high the issue came on his list, Warren replied: “No, no, it’s very low. In fact, I am working with a number of gay organisations on issues that we care about, in saving lives.”
In his video released just before the Proposition 8 vote, Warren said: “Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8 – and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear.”
In 2004, the preacher sent a letter to his congregation stating that gay marriage was one of his five non-negotiable issues before the presidential election.