Gay bishop kicks off inauguration celebrations in Washington DC

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Openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson delivered the opening prayer at an Obama inauguration concert last night.

The concert was the start of four days of events to welcome the President-elect into the White House.

However, Robinson’s invocation, titled A Prayer for the Nation and Our Next President, Barack Obama, was left out of the HBO television coverage of the event, which has been viewed as a slight by many in the LGBT community.

There were also claims that many who had gathered at the Lincoln Memorial were also unable to hear the speech because of a problem with a set of speakers.

During the prayer on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Robinson asked that American be blessed, “With freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.”

The decision to have the Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire speak at the concert followed a lengthy debate by Robinson and many gay rights groups over the choice of Reverend Rick Warren to deliver a prayer on the day of inauguration.

Warren has publicly denounced homosexuality, likening it to incest.

In interviews before the concert Robinson had spoken to say that he wanted to ensure the prayer was inclusive of all American people, no matter what their religion.

Robinson also asked for the nation to be blessed, “With anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of colour, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.”

Obama, along with Vice President-elect, Joe Biden also spoke during the celebrations. The concert featured performances from performers Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder and Usher.