San Francisco archbishop will skip this year’s national rally opposing same-sex marriage

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the 2013 March for Marriage event in Washington, D.C.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the 2013 March for Marriage event in Washington, D.C. American Life League

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the 2013 March for Marriage event in Washington, D.C. American Life League

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone speaks at the 2013 March for Marriage event in Washington, D.C.

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s Roman Catholic archbishop, who is at the center of growing debate over his opposition to gay marriage, will miss an annual march in Washington, D.C., next week opposing same-sex marriage, his archdiocese said.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone attended last year’s march against gay marriage, leading a prayer rally outside the Supreme Court. U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, and some other Bay Area politicians criticized his attendance at the time.

A statement on the San Francisco archdiocese’s website Wednesday night said Cordileone would stay home during this year’s march but be with the marchers “in spirit and prayer.”

Cordileone sparked cries of both support and opposition from local Catholics earlier this year when he required some church staffers to sign statements condemning gay relations as “gravely evil.”

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He also called for teachers and staff at four high schools within the archdiocese to accept contract and handbook language against abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, birth control and artificial insemination.

About 100 parishioners took out a newspaper ad last week asking Pope Francis to remove Cordileone.

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