SAN FRANCISCO — Salvatore Cordileone, a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church and one of California’s leading opponents of same-sex marriage, was named was named Archbishop of San Francisco by Pope Benedict XVI on Friday.
Cordileone was the principal architect of California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
At the time, Cordileone made headlines when he called same-sex marriage a Satanic “plot by the Evil One” to destroy morality in the modern world.
Formerly the Bishop of Oakland, Calif., since 2009, Cordileone is currently the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.
When he is installed as the Archbishop of San Francisco on Oct. 4, 2012, Cordileone will preside over an archdiocese that encompasses more than a half million Catholics in San Francisco and Marin County and on the peninsula, as well as oversee the dioceses of Oakland, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Stockton, Sacramento, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Reno and Salt Lake City.
His appointment to the San Francisco position immediately drew controversy from the LGBT community.
“Bishop Cordileone has proven himself to be an anti-gay activist who encourages and promotes discrimination against LGBT people,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
According to the HRC, Cordileone played a central role in founding and executing the Protect Marriage campaign, and under his influence, Catholic organizations in California played a leading role in financing the Proposition 8 campaign. His partners included the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Focus on the Family. In fact, it was Cordileone who personally phoned NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher and asked her to get NOM involved in the Prop 8 fight.
A report in Oakland’s East Bay Express noted that if it weren’t for Cordileone, gays and lesbians “would almost surely still be able to get married today.”
As an auxiliary bishop in San Diego, Cordileone played an indispensable role in conceiving, funding, organizing, and ultimately winning the campaign to pass Proposition 8.
It was Bishop Sal and a small group of Catholic leaders who decided that they had to amend the state constitution. It was Bishop Sal who found the first major donor and flushed the fledgling campaign with cash. It was Bishop Sal who personally brought in the organization that took the lead on the petition drive. And it was Bishop Sal who coordinated the Catholic effort with evangelical churches around the state.
Bishop Sal even helped craft the campaign’s rhetorical strategy, sitting in on focus groups to hone the message of Proposition 8.
We know all this because as homosexuals and their supporters were wondering how this all came about, Cordileone gloated about his work in an interview with an obscure Catholic radio network. He bragged about how gay men and lesbians never saw him coming.
LGBT leaders in San Francisco have questioned how Cordileone would fit in with the city, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
“This isn’t a marriage made in heaven,” said Tom Ammiano, an openly gay state assemblyman who represents San Francisco.
Cordileone is to be installed as San Francisco’s new archbishop in early October, around the same time that the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide whether it will hear arguments on Proposition 8.