WASHINGTON — Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, and one of the Catholic Church’s leading voices against marriage equality, has been tapped by the Democratic party to deliver the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week.
The announcement has drawn sharp criticism from LGBT advocacy groups, calling the selection “out of step” with the Democrat’s inclusive, pro-LGBT platform.
“This is a historic Democratic convention for LGBT people – the party’s platform embraces both full marriage equality and federal workplace protections, and there will be more openly LGBT delegates and participants than ever before,” said HRC spokesman Dan Rafter.
“Despite these advances, the convention will close with words from Cardinal Dolan, an active opponent of LGBT equality,” Rafter said, in a statement.
LGBT advocacy group “Truth Wins Out” said the the Democrats have “squandered an opportunity” to provide a platform for a progressive, religious voice, “and instead elevated one of the nation’s most outspoken opponents of marriage equality.”
On the day following President Barack Obama’s historic endorsement of marriage equality, Dolan said that he prayed for the President and would continue to pray that Obama would “uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Dolan was a leading voice against marriage equality in New York. In June 2011, he called marriage for loving, committed same-sex couples “a violation of what we consider the natural law that’s embedded in every man and woman,” as well as “immoral” and “detrimental to the common good.”
“There are a plethora of faith leaders who embody the Golden Rule in their daily work – striving to serve those on the margins of society; working to bring comfort to those lacking it; and advocating for faith communities that welcome their LGBT sisters and brothers,” said Rafter.
“While Cardinal Dolan has a respected tracked record in the ministry, his work to undercut the dignity of LGBT people cannot be overlooked,” he added.
This year’s Democratic convention is being called an “historic” gathering for LGBT people by some analysts.
According to Jereme Davis, Executive Director at National Stonewall Democrats, there will be 486 LGBT delegates at this years Democratic convention. Davis estimated at least 534 total LGBT participants when including alternates, committee members and pages.
Dolan, who serves as President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is also scheduled to deliver the closing prayer at the GOP Convention currently underway in Tampa, Fla.