California | Gay Marriage | Mormon | News | Proposition 8

SF Archbishop Niederauer Wants Gays to Accept Second-Class Status

San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer has spoken out on his role in the passage of Proposition 8 in the aftermath of the ensuing protests, asking, "What is the way forward for all of us together? Even though we supporters of Proposition 8 did not intend to hurt or offend our opponents, still many of them, especially in the gay community, feel hurt and offended. What is to be done?"

NiederaurerNiederauer, who is credited with bringing in the Mormon church and the massive finances of its donors, urged people to tone down the rhetoric: "Tolerance, respect, and trust are always two-way streets, and tolerance respect and trust often do not include agreement, or even approval. We need to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. We need to stop talking as if we are experts on the real motives of people with whom we have never even spoken. We need to stop hurling names like 'bigot' and 'pervert' at each other. And we need to stop it now."

The SF Chronicle reports:

"During the campaign, Niederauer issued statements, sent flyers and gave a videotaped interview posted at But Niederauer's most prominent action was drawing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members responded with intensive grassroots organizing and an estimated $20 million in campaign contributions from individuals that accounted for half of the Yes on 8 campaign's total. Niederauer noted that many other Christian denominations supported Prop. 8, including evangelical Protestant, Orthodox and historically African American churches. The Mormon church has said Niederauer, previously the bishop of Salt Lake City for 11 years, played a pivotal role in its joining the cause. 'We were invited to join the coalition,' Michael Otterson, managing director of public affairs for the church, told The Chronicle in an interview shortly after the election. 'We didn't unilaterally go into the battle.' Otterson said Niederauer's letter persuaded the Mormon church that they wouldn't be fighting this battle alone, a status that would have made them vulnerable."

Niederauer wants everyone to accept the procreation argument for the family and the "marriage" label, and wants gays to accept "a contract for the benefit of a relationship between adults" but not call it marriage.

He forgives "single parents, grandparents, foster parents and others" who "fail to realize" the ideal procreative one man-one woman model but doesn't deny them his permission to marry, because they are heterosexual.

Basically, Niederauer wants gays and lesbians (many of whom do procreate through surrogates, etc, I might add) to accept our status as second-class citizens and move on.

Read his full message, entitled "Moving Forward Together," AFTER THE JUMP...

S.F. archbishop defends role in Prop. 8 passage [sf chronicle]



“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” In the weeks since the adoption of this amendment the media have carried many speculations about the role of the Catholic bishops in California, and about my role in particular, in the passage of this proposition. It is my wish to clarify here what was done and why it was done, and offer some thoughts about the way forward amid so many misunderstandings and hard feelings.

Five years before my appointment as Archbishop of San Francisco, in the year 2000, Proposition 22 was placed on the California ballot. This statute, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, passed with 61% of the vote. On May 15th of this year, the California State Supreme Court declared that statute unconstitutional and legalized same-sex marriage in California. Around the same time, Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment qualified for the ballot.

The Catholic bishops of California, organized as the California Catholic Conference, and speaking through their office of public policy in Sacramento, endorsed Proposition 8 and urged Catholics, and organizations of lay Catholics, to work for its passage, by means of grass roots activity and contributions from their resources. We bishops also endorsed Proposition 4, regarding parental notification of a minor child’s intended abortion (defeated at the polls) and we opposed Proposition 6, a “tough on crime” initiative inconsistent with the principles of restorative justice (defeated).

The Archdiocese of San Francisco did not donate or transfer any Archdiocesan funds to the campaign in favor of Proposition 8. As far as I know, that is also true of other Catholic dioceses in California. The Archdiocese did pay, and appropriately disclose, printing and distribution of flyers to parishes.

Last May the staff of the Conference office informed me that leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) had given their support to the campaign for Proposition 22 in the year 2000, and were already considering an involvement in connection with Proposition 8. Accordingly, I was asked to contact leaders of the LDS Church whom I had come to know during my eleven years as Bishop of Salt Lake City, to ask them to cooperate again, in this election cycle. I did write to them and they urged the members of their Church, especially those in California, to become involved.

It is important to point out here that a wide range of churches became active in favor of Proposition 8: in addition to Catholics and LDS members, evangelical Protestant churches and churches with many African-American members joined the effort, and, among the Orthodox churches, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of San Francisco and three other Orthodox bishops signed and published a joint statement in favor of Proposition 8.

That is what was done. Why was it done? Some voices in the wider community declare that there could be only one motive: hatred, prejudice and bigotry against gays, along with a determination to discriminate against them and deny them their civil rights. That is not so. The churches that worked in favor of Proposition 8 did so because of their belief that the traditional understanding and definition of marriage is in need of defense and support, and not in need of being re-designed or re-configured.

Some of our opponents respond with this question: Even if these churches saw the California State Supreme Court decision in May as damaging to the institution of marriage as they understood and valued it, shouldn’t they have kept quiet and stayed on the sidelines? Some would say that, in light of the separation of church and state, churches should remain silent about any political matter. However, religious leaders in America have the constitutional right to speak out on issues of public policy. Catholic bishops, specifically, also have a responsibility to teach the faith, and our beliefs about marriage and family are part of this faith.

Indeed, to insist that citizens be silent about their religious beliefs when they are participating in the public square is to go against the constant American political tradition. Such a gag order would have silenced many abolitionists in the nineteenth century and many civil rights advocates in the twentieth. Quite a number of important political issues regularly touch upon the ethical, moral, and religious convictions of citizens: immigration policy, the death penalty, torture of prisoners, abortion, euthanasia, and the right to health care are some such issues.

Members of churches who supported Proposition 8 sincerely believe that defining marriage as only between a man and a woman is one such issue. They see marriage and the family as the basic building blocks of human society, existing before government and not created by it. Marriage is for us the ideal relationship between a man and woman, in which, through their unique sexual complementarity, the spouses offer themselves to God as co-creators of new human persons, a father and mother giving them life and enabling them to thrive in the family setting.

Are there many instances in which this ideal fails to be realized? Of course there are. Single parents, grandparents, foster parents and others deserve praise and support for their courage, sacrifice and devotion in raising the children for whom they are responsible. Still, the proponents of Proposition 8 subscribe to a definition of marriage that recognizes and protects its potential to create and nurture new human life, not merely a contract for the benefit of a relationship between adults.

Whatever others may say, the proponents of Proposition 8 supported it as a defense of the traditional understanding and definition of marriage, not as an attack on any group, or as an attempt to deprive others of their civil rights. The fact remains that, under California law, after the passage of Proposition 8, same sex couples who register as domestic partners will continue to have “the same rights, protections and benefits” as married couples. Proposition 8 simply recognizes that there is a difference between traditional marriage and a same sex partnership.

What is the way forward for all of us together? Even though we supporters of Proposition 8 did not intend to hurt or offend our opponents, still many of them, especially in the gay community, feel hurt and offended. What is to be done?

Tolerance, respect, and trust are always two-way streets, and tolerance respect and trust often do not include agreement, or even approval. We need to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. We need to stop talking as if we are experts on the real motives of people with whom we have never even spoken. We need to stop hurling names like “bigot” and “pervert” at each other. And we need to stop it now.

For our part, we churchgoers need to speak and act out of the truth that all people are God’s children and are unconditionally loved by God. While we argue among ourselves, the people who need our help with hunger, unemployment, homelessness and other problems wait for us to turn together toward them. More particularly, we Catholics in the Archdiocese of San Francisco need to minister to the needs of all Catholics in this local Church. Whoever they are, and whatever their circumstances, their spiritual and pastoral rights should be respected, together with their membership in the Church. In that spirit, with God’s grace and much prayer, perhaps we can all move forward together.


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  1. Again-given their history-the Catholic Church has no moral authority to speak for this country at all.
    Clean your own house first and keep your mythological reasons out of civil law.

    Posted by: Nick | Dec 4, 2008 8:21:03 AM

  2. The Roman Catholic Church is an enemy of gay people. It's that simple.

    Posted by: MAJeff | Dec 4, 2008 8:24:04 AM

  3. Can anyone provide an address for this bigot?

    Posted by: rayrayj | Dec 4, 2008 8:32:50 AM

  4. Tho I was under the impression that marriage was a contract of love... evidently it's only a license to reproduce.
    The religious bigots pervert the sanctity of marriage as a sexual contract.

    Posted by: hangten | Dec 4, 2008 8:34:40 AM

  5. "You brought it on yourself, baby. I only hurt you because I love you. Come on, now, give me some love and let's forget about it."

    Posted by: Olive Yurdich | Dec 4, 2008 8:45:22 AM

  6. Good for the Archbishop.
    the more they publish their admittance of involvement in the passage of discriminatory propositions, or oppose the ones that would create the dialogue he claims he wants to have with their opposing parts, the easier is to point out to the growing number of intelligent people that are seeing if not bigotry, the very closed mindedness typicallly retrogressive, more than conservative, of the leaders of religious organizations that see the failure of their proselytizing the real values of Christ, and take it on their favorite minority du' jour.
    Keep the conversation going.

    Posted by: Fabrizio | Dec 4, 2008 8:47:24 AM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 4, 2008 8:49:35 AM

  8. If there is a heaven (and I really doubt there is), I'm glad I won't be spending eternity there with assholes like him.

    Posted by: Chris in Kansas | Dec 4, 2008 8:50:52 AM

  9. and the horse you rode in on, buddy.

    Posted by: Dan B | Dec 4, 2008 9:04:23 AM

  10. This is the same ass hat that ran to Bill O’Reilly after the Castro drag queens came to church for communion. He even provided Fox news with the video tape.

    Posted by: ggreen | Dec 4, 2008 9:10:52 AM

  11. Fuck this Bishop and the Cross he rode in on...the Catholic church can go pound sand...the liars,thieves,and molestors that they are....he expects LGBT people to just sit back and "TAKE IT"? Nah....don't think so Bishop...a call out to all....OUT ALL PRIEST and CLERGY...OUT THEM LIKE NEVER BEFORE! It's a WAR they want - they've got it! No more playing nice...."like the " They'll come around eventually mentality"....he can go Fuck himself.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Dec 4, 2008 9:11:01 AM

  12. We'll stop calling him a bigot when he stops acting in bigoted ways. Pretty simple, really.

    Posted by: Marc | Dec 4, 2008 9:23:01 AM

  13. Where are the concern trolls telling us we have to be nice to those out to destroy us?

    Posted by: MAJeff | Dec 4, 2008 9:24:21 AM

  14. Yeah, like I'm going to listen to marriage advice from a celibate man who belongs to a church filled with boy rapers.

    Posted by: homer | Dec 4, 2008 9:37:45 AM

  15. Just to remind folks there is a Catholic Church at 18th and Diamond Street in the heart of the Castro in San Francisco. (Most Holy Redeemer) The members of this church pay this guy’s salary and fund a cult that wants us heterosexual or dead.

    Posted by: sheck | Dec 4, 2008 9:50:54 AM

  16. What's interesting is that when all is said and done, he is probably the one that will be going to hell.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Dec 4, 2008 10:03:19 AM

  17. "Tolerance, respect, and trust are always two-way streets" - That's right, Mr. Niederauer, they are. And since you've GIVEN none of them, you'll GET none of them from me.

    Posted by: DNashty | Dec 4, 2008 10:56:13 AM

  18. Fuck him. He got his way and now we should just step back in the closet and accept his bigoted ways. He didn't know we'd be upset about losing our rights...what exactly did he expect?? Again, FUCK HIM!!

    Posted by: Bruce | Dec 4, 2008 11:25:58 AM

  19. THANK YOU, Andy, for drawing readers' attention to this. Someone please tell me again why the SF "Impact" demo was at City Hall and not at:

    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco
    One Peter Yorke Way
    San Francisco, CA 94109?

    THAT'S where [in addition to the Mormon Tabernacle in Oakland] demonstrations and nonviolent civil disobedience should be occuring NAMING the Bigots for all to understand [and not fantasizing about changing their minds]. NOT at SF City Hall, and, for fuck's sake, NOT in the middle of 18th & Castro [NOR Most Holy Redeemer]. Those places, repeat, THEY are not the center of the problem!

    Until someone does stop wasting our time finger fucking themselves with retarded ideas like "A Day Without A Gay" and organizes disruptions of the business as usual of the sources of our oppression [as the black civil rights movement did, hint hint], here's the ReichArchbishop's office phone number and e-mail address:

    (415) 614-5500

    Harvey 2008 would be shouting:



    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Dec 4, 2008 11:32:27 AM

  20. "We need to stop talking as if we are experts on the real motives of people with whom we have never even spoken."

    Gotta grant him that one. The Catholic Church should just shut up about gay people and stop talking as if they are experts on homosexuality. They're not.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Dec 4, 2008 11:33:10 AM

  21. "'What is the way forward for all of us together? Even though we supporters of Proposition 8 did not intend to hurt or offend our opponents, still many of them, especially in the gay community, feel hurt and offended. What is to be done?'"

    Hmmm, didn't intend to hurt or offend? Did he think we'd enjoy being stripped of our civil rights? The pure arrogance of religious bigots. Sorry, Archbigot, there is no "way forward for all of us together" until you realize that you, and the Catholic church, and all the other churches should have absolutely no role in determining our equality based on your misguided religion-based prejudices. "What is to be done" is for the Catholic church to stop meddling in a civil marriage issue that is not about procreation, not about Catholicism, and certainly not about the personal beliefs of supposedly celibate priests who have their own relationship issues to deal with.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 4, 2008 11:34:15 AM

  22. "We need to stop hurling names like 'bigot' and 'pervert' at each other. And we need to stop it now."

    C'mon, Archbishop. Where the hell were you when we were being called 'pervert' and you were still being called 'most reverend'?

    Posted by: Rick in Ohio | Dec 4, 2008 11:35:39 AM

  23. "We need to stop hurling names like 'bigot' and 'pervert' at each other. And we need to stop it now."

    But, we must also keep in mind that we queers are "objectively disordered" and are engaging in "intrinsic evil." When we raise children, we are doing "violence" to them according to the RCC. But that's all said in love, of course.

    They hate us. They want to destroy our ability to live gay lives.

    Posted by: MAJeff | Dec 4, 2008 11:39:19 AM

  24. I echo what ERNIE said.

    One thing that I love about this terrible situation is that it has awakened the GLBT community's spirit of activism and protest. I love our tribe the most when we are filled with righteous indignation.

    The catholic and mormon churches stirred up this shitstorm, and my fervent hope is that they are consumed by the tempest of their own making. May we all keep up the good fight, and make the world a better place.

    Out of the blogs and into the streets, indeed.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 4, 2008 11:50:51 AM

  25. Moral instruction from the pedophile mafia is a little hard to accept.

    Posted by: Sportin' Life | Dec 4, 2008 11:55:24 AM

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