QUEER VOICES
01/30/2013 11:15 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone Compares Legalizing Gay Marriage To Male Breastfeeding

During a recent interview, a Catholic leader made an unusual comparison between gay marriage and male breastfeeding.

Speaking with the United Kingdom's Catholic Herald, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said the term gay marriage refers to a "natural impossibility" and should be rarely used.

In an apparent effort to emphasize the ridiculousness of the concept, Cordileone made the following comparison:

Legislating for the right for people of the same sex to marry is like legalizing male breastfeeding.

The archbishop told the Herald that the struggle to protect traditional marriage is God's "gift" to his generation.

“This is our particular trial, and by overcoming it we may achieve spiritual greatness," he said. "It will entail suffering if we are to oppose gay marriage, something which poses such destruction to the understanding of natural marriage, which is a child-oriented institution.”

Formerly the bishop of Oakland, Cordileone was appointed archbishop by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, ThinkProgress notes. Before that, Cordileone had spearheaded the California Catholic Church's effort to pass Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state.

Ruled unconstitutional by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year, Proposition 8 is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court in March.

Cordileone's comparison seems to imply that both same-sex marriage and breastfeeding by men are both impossible. However, same-sex marriage is legal in several states and while rare, men can lactate.

The Scientific American notes several scenarios that could and have caused male lactation, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond added that male milk production could be advantageous in a modern society.

Meanwhile, some transgender men have also been able to keep their female reproductive organs and breastfeed their children. This possibility, highlighted by the advocacy of Trevor MacDonald, forced international breastfeeding group La Leche to revisit its "female only" leadership policy, reports The Advocate.

Despite San Francisco's liberal atmosphere, Cordileone has spoken publicly against the LGBT community on several other occasions.

In September, he said gay and lesbian Catholics do not deserve the sacrament of Holy Communion. And in November, following Election Day same-sex marriage victories in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota, Cordileone called the day a "disappointing" one, while vowing to fight on in defense of "traditional marriage."

He released a statement that said, in part:

The meaning of marriage, though, cannot be redefined because it lies within our very nature. No matter what policy, law or judicial decision is put into place, marriage is the only institution that unites a man and a woman to each other and to any children born of their union. It is either this, or it is nothing at all.

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