Rev. Peter Gomes Dies at 68

A renowned preacher and the first African-American minister of the Memorial Church, Peter Gomes passed away on Monday in his hometown of Boston from complications due to a stroke he suffered in December. Gomes began serving at the nondenominational Memorial Church of Harvard University in 1970, and has taught at the university's Divinity School and its school of Arts and Sciences ever since. He announced that he was homosexual in 1991 and subsequently became a powerful voice for increased tolerance of sexual orientation in society. Gomes was considered a conservative Republican until he switched his political affiliation in 2006 to support Massachusetts Democrat Deval Patrick, who became the state's first black governor. He helped inaugurate Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and was called "one of the seven most distinguished preachers in America" by Time Magazine in 1979.