NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Catholics United Education Fund (CUEF), a lay Catholic advocacy group, delivered a petition containing about 7,500 signatures to the Knights of Columbus on Tuesday, asking the Catholic fraternal organization to stop using its money to oppose same-sex marriage.
CUEF submitted the petition to the Knights’ headquarters in New Haven.
CUEF claims that Knights of Columbus spent more than $600,000 opposing same-sex marriage in the last election cycle.
James Salt, Executive Director of CUEF said anti-gay lobbying by the Knights is alienating younger Catholics, causing them to leave the faith.
“As a young Catholic, I want my church to focus on serving the marginalized, not fighting for far-right political issues,” said Salt. He added that the Knights should place focus on serving the poor and vulnerable.
Salt, citing a report last month from a coalition of Catholics who support gay rights, said the Knights donated more than $600,000 this year for ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State.
Voters in Washington, Maryland and Maine approved same-sex marriage initiatives earlier this month, while Minnesota voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
The Catholic Church supported anti-gay marriage campaigns in those states.
The Knights of Columbus is the largest lay Catholic organization in the world, and has donated more than $1.4 billion and 664 million hours to charitable causes.
Since 2005, the Knights and its affiliated insurance company have spent more than $6 million campaigning against marriage equality.