Letter & Petition Urge Archbishop Cordileone to Cancel Speech at Anti-gay Rally

Written By Call To Action


June 10, 2014

Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone

One Peter Yorke Way

San Francisco 94109

Dear Archbishop Cordileone,

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that you cancel your participation in the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) march and rally in Washington, DC, on June 19, 2014.

We understand that people of good will may have genuinely heartfelt differences on the question of civil marriage for same-sex couples. Moreover, while not all of us agree with official Catholic teaching on marriage and family, we appreciate the many statements from Catholic leaders defending the human dignity of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially the recent words of Pope Francis: “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Pope Francis’ words echo the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that lesbian and gay people “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

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 same-sex marriage for the Isla Vista mass shooting.

Other individuals with whom you would be marching and sharing the podium have repeatedly denigrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people:

Marriage for same-sex couples “would be like saying, well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs, so let’s go ahead and accommodate those who want who use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them.” –Mike Huckabee

“The ultimate goal of homosexual-rights activists is not to legalize same-sex marriage. Rather, it is to silence those who disagree with them and, if necessary, to throw them in jail.” — Gary Bauer

“Folks who cannot reproduce want to recruit your kids”. Marriage for same-sex couples is part of “a satanic plot to destroy our seed” . . . “an assault” which “corrupts, perverts and pollutes.” — Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.:

“Well if it’s a civil right for a man to marry man, and a woman to marry woman, what’s the difference of a man deciding he wants to have sex with a dog?” — Rev. Bill Owens, Sr.

Moreover, NOM’s promotional video for this event – which includes your image – uses incendiary rhetoric about those who support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples:

“[Their] goal is silence and punishing anyone who disagrees. … This is not tolerance, it’s tyranny. You have a choice. You can remain silent in the face of oppression or you can stand up and fight for the truth. … These same sex advocates wish to silence anyone who disagrees with them.”

By standing alongside these individuals and organizations, you appear to be endorsing their troubling words and deeds, which directly contradict the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral teaching that “God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual. God’s love is always and everywhere offered to those who are open to receiving it.” (Always Our Children, 1997)

Many people of faith who have different opinions on the question of civil marriage for same-sex couples have come together in respectful dialogue and discernment to discuss those differences. Sadly, the actions of NOM and its invited speakers push us farther apart rather than bringing us together.

We ask that you will reconsider your participation and join us in seeking to promote reconciliation rather than division and hatred.


California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom
California State Senator Mark Leno
California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener
Dr. Michael J. Adee, Director, Global Faith and Justice Project, Horizons Foundation, San
Francisco, California
The Very Rev. Dr. Brian Baker, Dean of the Cathedral, Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, California
Selisse Berry, Founding Chief Executive Officer, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Gabriel Blau, Executive Director, Family Equality Council
Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Founder School of the Americas Watch
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Gary Buseck, Interim Executive Director
Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Faith Cheltenham, President, BINET USA
Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry
Roger Doughty, Executive Director, Horizons Foundation
Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, Dignity USA
Rev. Michael Ellick, Minister, Judson Memorial Church
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO, GLAAD Leslie Ewing, Executive Director, Pacific Center
Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director,Call To Action USA
Earl Fowlkes, President & CEO, Center for Black Equality
The Rt. Rev’d Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., 10th
Episcopal Bishop of Michigan
Rabbi Roberto D. Graetz, Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, California
Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, Executive Coordinator, National Coalition of American NunsSharon
Groves, Director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign
Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, Co-Director, Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for Gay and
Transgender Justice
David Heitstuman, Board President & Interim Executive Director, Sacramento LGBT Community
Haven Herrin, Director, Soulforce
The Rev. Anita C. Hill, Acting Director, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation
Nancy Heilner, Executive Director, Queer LifeSpace
Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG National
Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D. Co-Founder/Director, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual
Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, CEO, The San Diego LGBT Community Center
Lorri Jean, CEO, Los Angeles LGBT Center
Paul Kawata, Executive Director, National Minority AIDS Council
Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Rev. Harry Knox, President and CEO, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director, Equality Federation
Andy Lang, Executive Director, Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ
Abbe Land, Executive Director, Trevor Project
Rev. Phil Lawson, Pastor Emeritus of Easter Hill United Methodist Church, Richmond, CaliforniaA
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Beyt Tikkun Synagogue, Editor, Tikkun Magazine
Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Associate Dean for Community Life and Lifelong Learning, Clinical
Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Practice, Boston University School of
TheologyRev. Reggie Longcrier, Senior Pastor, Exodus Missionary Outreach Church, Hickory,
North Carolina
Rev. Dr. Cindi Love
Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa, and Community
Presbyterian Church, Pittsburg, California
Rev. Jim Mitulski, Pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, Dallas, Texas
Kevin O’Grady, Executive Director, Orange County Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center
Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto Sr., Pastor Glide Memorial UMC
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, President and Professor of Theology, Starr King School for the Ministry
Eva Patterson, Executive Director, Equal Justice Society
Claudia Peña, Statewide Director, California Civil Rights Coalition
Rev. Dr. Riess W. Potterveld, President, Graduate Theological Union
Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
David Robinson, Bay Area Regional Director, KESHET
Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director, San Francisco LGBT Community Center
Rev. Dr. Dawn Roginski, Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Vallejo, California
James Rowe, Director, Believe Out Loud
Ellyn Ruthstrom, President, Bisexual Resource Center Dr. Bernard Schlager, Interim President, Associate Professor of Historical & Cultural Studies,
Pacific School of Religion
Jodi L. Schwartz, Executive Director, LYRIC
Michael Sherrard, Executive Director, Faithful America
Brian Silva, Executive Director, Marriage Equality USA
Jessica Stern, Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Terry Stone, CEO, Centerlink
Dr. Justin Tanis, Managing Director, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry
Vivian Taylor, Executive Director, Integrity USA
Lance Toma, LCSW, Executive Director, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center
Dana Van Gorder, Executive Director, Project Inform
Rev. Dr. Mel White, Co-founder of Soulforce
Rev. Dennis W. Wiley, Ph.D., Pastor, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C.
Rev. Christine Y. Wiley, D. Min., Pastor, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
Evan Wolfson, Founder and Executive Director, Freedom to Marry
Rick Zbur, Executive Director Elect, Equality California

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