I often write about clergymen who are anti-gay and are extremely vocal about derailing the advancement of equality for the LGBT community, mostly because as a Christian myself there is nothing else that will spark a reaction faster from me and lead me to my computer to write than a Bishop Harry Jackson or Rev. Ken Hutcherson.
But today I'd like to focus on a man that has consistently supported the gay community and often spoke out against the cruel and unfair treatment of those based solely on their sexual orientation.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been named the recipient of a prestigious award by the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
The IGLHRC will present its 2008 Outspoken Award as part of the organization's A Celebration of Courage human rights ceremony on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
"There is really only one name in the world that immediately conjures up moral leadership in pursuit of dignity for all people on earth, and that is Desmond Tutu," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC's Executive Director.
"Archbishop Tutu's vision of a world in which human rights are respected has always explicitly included LGBT people, despite the fierce opposition he has faced from his peers and colleagues. He has challenged political apartheid in South Africa and continues to challenge spiritual apartheid within his religious community."
Archbishop Tutu has vocally challenged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In a 2004 article in The Times of London, he condemned persecution on the basis of sexual orientation, comparing it to apartheid.
"We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about-our very skins," he wrote. "It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups."
Archbishop Tutu is a true ally and is to be commended for valuing all human life and standing up for what's right, even though it may not be popular. Congrats!