The archbishop of America’s most liberal city is scheduled to speak at a massive anti-gay rally later this month, prompting more than 80 political and religious leaders to demand in a letter that he cancel his participation.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, a leading supporter of California’s Prop. 8 to ban same-sex marriage in 2008, will speak June 19 at Washington D.C.’s March for Marriage, an event organized by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Family Research Council -- two groups that have taken some of the most hostile stances against same-sex marriage.
His involvement in their rally, the letter’s authors argue, is out of line with Pope Francis’ recent progressive words on treatment of the gay community.
We respect freedom of religion and understand that you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples. But the actions and rhetoric of NOM, and those of the event's speakers and co-sponsors, fundamentally contradict Christian belief in the fundamental human dignity of all people.
NOM has a long and well-documented history of publishing material that connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest and falsely suggests that gays and lesbians are trying to "inculcate children." Likewise, the Family Research Council, which is co-sponsoring the event, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their vitriolic rhetoric; recently, a spokesperson for FRC blamed the growing acceptance of marriage for same sex couples for the Isla Vista mass shootings.
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the historically gay Castro neighborhood and signed the letter, said news of Cordileone’s speaking commitment was incredibly demoralizing after all the legal ups-and-downs LGBT couples have faced in their fight for marriage equality.
“We finally have this civil right, and we’re seeing it spread around the country, so for San Francisco’s archbishop to be speaking at the rally of a hate group, a group that believes that LGBT people should be second class citizens, is very disappointing,” he told The Huffington Post, adding that he has long worked with “fair-minded” Catholic groups in the city.
“It’s been awkward with Archbishop Cordileone because of his history of supporting the anti-marriage-equality movement,” he told HuffPost. “I thought it was important to give him the benefit of the doubt and said, ‘Let’s see if he can come into a partnership with our community and see if we can possibly work together.’ That hasn’t really happened.”
Cordileone’s history of anti-gay vitriol has put him at odds with San Francisco since his 2012 appointment by Pope Benedict XVI, a move that shocked the famously progressive city.
“This isn't a marriage made in heaven,” state assemblyman Tom Ammiano told the San Francisco Chronicle at the time.
Other speakers at the event will include former presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R), former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) and New York State Senator Rev. Rubin Diaz (D).
Cordileone’s office did not immediately return The Huffington Post’s request for comment.