San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has rejected calls from LGBT leaders and elected officials like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging him to not attend the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) March for Marriage on Thursday in Washington D.C.
The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union. This is precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.” Rest assured that if the point of this event were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there.
While I cannot go into all of the details here of your allegations against the sponsors of this event and scheduled speakers, I do know that at least some of what you say is based on misinterpretation or is simply factually incorrect. For example, it is not true that the National Organization for Marriage connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest. What is true is that three years ago a conference was sponsored in Baltimore by the group B4U-ACT for the purpose of finding ways to encourage tolerance for pedophilia. A statement on NOM’s blogpost objecting to this conference affirmed that this is something that would outrage people in the gay community as well. Unfortunately, many conclusions are being drawn about those involved in the March for Marriage based on false impressions.
It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric. Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence. It is true that historically in our society violence has been perpetrated against persons who experience attraction to members of the same sex, and this is to be deplored and eradicated. Sadly, though, we are now beginning to see examples, although thankfully not widespread, of even physical violence against those who hold to the conjugal view of marriage (such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council). While it is true that free speech can be used to offend others, it is not so much people exercising their right to free speech that drives us further apart than people punished precisely for doing so that does.
Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other. It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements. That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible. I know it is possible, I know this from personal experience. When we come together seeking to understand the other with good will, miracles can happen.
However, as Jeremy Hooper at NOM Exposed explains, the NOM March will feature speakers who have attacked LGBT people:
The NOM march will feature speakers who have described marriage equality as a "satanic plot to destroy our seed," speakers who have equated kids of same-sex parents to kids who lost their parents on 9/11, speakers who have claimed that "homosexuality spreads because somebody abused children," and multiple speakers who have directly compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest (see more here).
Heck, even NOM's own president, Brian Brown, has admitted that he believes homosexuality to be a sin that is both "not logical" and "degrading to the human soul," according to his version of the bible, which is likely why Brian has advocated for "ex-gay" programs and marched in the streets against an openly gay religious figure. He even took the extraordinary step of traveling to Russia so that he could speak in favor of a ban on same-sex adoption. Who does that?!
Brian does. NOM does. And this march will only be as anti-gay as its speakers.
Read Cordileone's letter below: