Soulforce to Protest "Unholy Crusade" by the Catholic Church Against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People

Protests and Vigils to Take Place at Catholic Bishops’ Conference for the Fourth Year in a Row in Washington, DC, November 9-13, 2003

Soulforce Press Release: October 22, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592

(Washington, DC) – Soulforce leaders today publicly announced plans to protest and vigil November 9-13, 2003 outside of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for the fourth year in a row. The demonstrations will again take place at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Avenue NW, in Washington D.C, beginning Sunday, November 9 from 3 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Vigils will continue Monday – Thursday, starting at 7 a.m. each day.

The purpose of the demonstrations is to protest the escalation of Catholic anti-gay policies and teachings, the expulsion of gay Catholics from the Church, and the Church’s support of an anti-gay “marriage” amendment to the US Constitution that would deny same-gender couples and families the same protections afforded to families headed by mixed-gender couples.

“The Catholic Church is conducting an unholy Crusade against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their families, both inside and outside the church,” said life-long Catholic Kara Speltz, chair of the Soulforce Catholic Denomination Team. “Not only is the church imposing its superstitious and unscientific attitudes against GLBT people in an attempt to deny us our civil rights, but they are actually kicking us out of the church for exercising our rights.”

The Catholic Church has been the subject of much criticism and media attention recently involving two gay men who were legally married in Canada, then kicked out of the Catholic church after serving for decades in the church choir.

Historically, the Catholic Church has not tried to impose it’s dogma against divorce and remarriage on the rest of America in an attempt to deny civil marriage rights to divorcees and their families. However, the anti-gay “marriage” amendment, which is supported by the Catholic Church, seeks to codify discrimination against same-gender couples and their families by imposing one narrow “religious” definition of marriage on all Americans.

Soulforce leaders have written a letter to Bishop Gregory, President of the USCCB, asking him not to support the anti-gay “marriage” amendment. Individuals are also being asked to write to their local bishops with the same request.

Last year, three Soulforce life-long Catholics were arrested when they refused a police order to leave the Hyatt lobby while seeking to be served communion, which had been denied to them the night before during a public mass at the National Shrine. They spent over 30 hours in jail after their arrest and were found guilty of trespassing, but a judge refused to impose sentencing. Two of the three arrested, Mike Perez of Seattle and Kara Speltz of Oakland, will be returning to protest again this year.

MEDIA: Banners and protestors provide excellent visuals. Call for exact times. Interviews available. For more information, letters to bishops, and civil marriage policy statement, see

For more information, see For media interviews, call 717-278-0592.

Laura Montgomery Rutt
Director of Communications
Soulforce, Inc

Soulforce is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.