In the big scheme of things, there are more important things on the gay rights plate than who's saying prayers in Washington, D.C. during Inauguration Week. But since we've been following the Rick Warren/Barack Obama controversy, and since these seemingly small things are often red flags for bigger problems down the roads, it's important to deliver a quick update.

On Sunday, openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson delivered the

opening prayer for Obama's inaugural celebration at the Lincoln

Memorial. Robinson was chosen by Obama after the President-elect outraged the gay community and many liberals for picking Proposition 8 supporter and evangelical minister Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Tuesday's presidential inauguration. The choice of Robinson, in other words, was seen as something of an olive branch.

Now gay Web sites and report that the decision to cut Robinson's prayer from HBO's live coverage of Sunday's events was made by Obama's people and not the cable network.The live broadcast began after the bishop's prayer.

In case the Obama team doesn't know by now, gays are no longer willing to be a silent underclass, so it'll be interesting to see how things play out in the coming days, as well as Tuesday when Warren, a man who obviously believes it's perfectly okay for a group of people to have an existing right taken away by popular vote, blesses the nation.

Obama keeps talking about change, but so far gays have only seen the same old political expediancy. As it stands now, the Robinson/Warren episode is a bright and early warning flag.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

LA Weekly