Soulforce Press Release: November 13, 2002
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
(Washington, DC) – Three faithful gay Catholics who were arrested at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. yesterday, November 12, 2002, remained in jail overnight last night and no details of their plight will be available until after a pretrial hearing takes place sometime later today.
Even though the hotel is a public accommodation, Kara Speltz (Oakland, CA), Ken Einhaus (Arlington, VA), and Mike Perez (Seattle, WA), were booked on charges of unlawful entry after they were arrested while kneeling in the Hyatt lobby during the annual United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
All three are lifelong Catholics who attended the Bishops’ Mass on Monday night at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. where they were denied the Eucharist without explanation or just cause. The civil disobedience that led to their arrests would not have taken place had the three been given the Eucharist the night before at the Bishops’ Mass.
Kara, Ken, and Mike entered the lobby of the Hyatt Regency at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, November 12, and were surrounded by friends from Soulforce and Dignity USA. Rev. Mel White, director of Soulforce, Inc., stood in the lobby with them and asked, "is there not one bishop with the courage to feed your flock and comfort God’s children?"
White also called on Bishop Gregory to honor the request he made in his opening address on Monday, November 11, ". . . to provide for the true nourishment and comfort of God’s people . . . through the Sacraments."
No Bishops came forward to offer Kara, Ken, and Mike the Eucharist and they were handcuffed and led away after refusing to obey the order by D.C. Metro Police to leave the hotel.
"After spending time in jail, we certainly hope that upon their release at least one bishop will have the moral courage to comfort them and offer Kara, Ken, and Mike the Eucharist they continue to be denied," said Richard Murphy, Catholic co-chair of Soulforce. "Additionally, a public apology would certainly be in order considering the spiritual wounds the church has inflicted on her children."
Soulforce is in Washington D.C. during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the third year in a row to protest the spiritual violence caused by Roman Catholic teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Soulforce, Inc. is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce teaches and employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual minorities.
For more information, see www.soulforce.org