US Catholic Bishop Elections Signal Continued Targeting of Gay, Transgender People

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US Catholic Bishop Elections Signal Continued Targeting of Gay, Transgender People

http://www.dignityusa.org/content/us-catholic-bishop-elections-signal-continued-targeting-gay-transgender-people

Statement of Equally Blessed, November 16, 2010

Contact: Marianne Duddy-Burke 617-669-7810

The leaders of Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholics working for justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, have issued a statement expressing deep concern over the outcome of the election of new leaders for the US Catholic Bishops Conference.

“The election of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Louisville, Kentucky Archbishop Joseph Kurtz as President and Vice-President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sends an ominous message to LGBT Catholics and our families," said Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry and an Equally Blessed member. "Both men have made strong statements against gay and transgender people. Indeed, for the past two years, Archbishop Kurtz has led the US Bishops’ nationwide campaign against marriage for gay couples."

“It is ominous because the bishops broke with tradition and did not elect this past year’s vice-president, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, as president, someone known to be more moderate on LGBT issues and signals that the bishops are targeting families with loved ones who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender," said Nicole Sotelo, Program and Communications Director at Call To Action.

Marianne Duddy-Burke of DignityUSA, another Equally Blessed spokesperson added, "The selection of these two men as leaders of the US Bishops’ Conference means it is more important than ever for Catholics who want our Church and world to be more welcoming and just for LGBT people to speak out and to act for justice.  The majority of Catholics in the pews are supportive of LGBT people and issues, so this election is another example of how the hierarchy is out of step with the faith experience and ideas of Catholic people."

"At a time when Catholics and the larger society have become so painfully aware of how anti-LGBT religious messages and personalities have contributed to youth suicide, we wish the bishops would have elected leaders whose records were not so damaging," said Casey Lopata, Co-Founder of Fortunate Families. "As father of a gay son and as Catholics, we choose to tell our youth about Jesus’ unconditional love for them."

Equally Blessed is a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society. Equally Blessed includes four organizations that have spent a combined 112 years working on behalf of LGBT people and their families:  Call to Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry.

Religion-based Prejudice is the Maine Problem

Next week voters in Maine will decide to keep or repeal a law passed earlier this year that granted marriage equality to same-sex couples.  By all estimates, the vote will be extremely tight and those who stand for equality are not taking anything for granted.  Neither are those who support discrimination based on false religion.

The main opposition to marriage equality in Maine comes, not surprisingly, from the Roman Catholic Church, the National Organization for Marriage (a conservative Christian group that has financed horrifically deceptive television ads and misleading campaigns in several other states) and other such religious groups.  The New York Times reported yesterday that students from Brigham Young University (a frequent stop on the Soulforce Equality Ride) are volunteering for the campaign to repeal equality, and that it is quite possible same-sex couples in Maine could lose their newly gained right to marry.

Soulforce encourages everyone to support Protect Maine Equality as they work tirelessly in these final days of the campaign to insure that bigotry is defeated and fairness is upheld.

Soulforce is dedicated, more than ever, to nonviolently confronting religion-based prejudice and changing hearts and minds across the country – especially those within communities of faith.  In these difficult economic times we are counting on your loyal support and ask you to make a donation today to help us continue our critical work. 

       

                                                                                                                         

GLBT Catholics and Their Allies Vigil in Minnesota

Over three hundred people gathered at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Sunday, December 2, 2007 for a vigil of solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics, their families and supporters.

Soulforce’s Mel White, Phil & Randi Reitan were at the vigil. One of the organizer’s reports can be found here.

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