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Calif. officials, community leaders urge Archbishop not to attend anti-gay rally

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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SAN FRANCISCO – Top California and San Francisco officials, along with faith, LGBT and civil rights leaders, are calling on San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to cancel his participation in an upcoming march and rally against marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Salvatore Cordileone

Salvatore Cordileone

The June 19 event in Washington, D.C. is being organized by some of the nation’s most virulently anti-LGBT organizations and leaders, including the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Family Research Council.

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, State Senator Mark Leno, State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros, and Supervisors David Campos and Scott Wiener are among the more than 70 leaders and organizations who have signed an open letter asking Cordileone to reconsider his participation in the National Organization for Marriage’s march and rally and, instead, “join us in seeking to promote reconciliation rather than division and hatred.”

“We respect freedom of religion and understand that you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples,” the letter states.

“Many people of faith who have different opinions on the question of civil marriage for same-sex couples have come together in respectful dialogue and discernment to discuss those differences. Sadly, the actions of NOM and its invited speakers push us farther apart rather than bringing us together.”

The signers point to NOM’s “long and well-documented history of publishing material that connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest and falsely suggests that gays and lesbians are trying to ‘inculcate children.’”

The Family Research Council, which is co-sponsoring the event, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The letter notes that the actions of NOM, Family Research Council and several of the invited speakers contradict the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “which states that lesbian and gay people ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.’”

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The letter comes as Catholic bishops are being urged to expand their priorities, with Pope Francis slated to convene a meeting of senior clerics this fall to reexamine issues such as same-sex marriage.

A recent poll by Public Religion Research Institute found that 57 percent of Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Other speakers at the event include former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, Bishop Harry Jackson Jr., and the Rev. Bill Owens Sr., all of whom “have repeatedly denigrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” the signers write.

An online petition asking Archbishop Cordileone not to speak at the rally is here.

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