The following press release has been issued by the Gay Liberation Network.
Freedom to Marry Day Action
To Protest Catholic Leadership’s
Opposition to LGBT Rights
Anger at Cardinal George’s Opposition to Civil Unions and Marriage Equality To be Taken to the Steps of Holy Name Cathedral February 13th
CHICAGO, IL – Citing Cardinal George’s prominent attempt to derail Illinois’ recently passed civil unions law which offers a greater measure of equality for same sex couples, and his ardent opposition to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in general, the Gay Liberation Network (GLN) will lead a “Freedom to Marry Day” protest on Sunday, Feb. 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, at 10:30 a.m. in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street.
“Everyone has a right to marry,” George said, “but no one has the right to change the nature of marriage.”
“But fortunately marriage has changed,” responded GLN co-founder Andy Thayer. “Wives are no longer the virtual property of their husbands, interracial couples can marry, and divorcees can remarry. And when those changes were made in law, no one dictated to the church which marriages it would have to solemnize.”
“The public understanding of marriage will be negatively affected by passage of a [civil unions] bill that ignores the natural fact that sexual complementarity is at the core of marriage,” said George shortly before the bill passed.
Responded Thayer, “For leaders of an institution as officially sex-negative, as well as unofficially sex-abusive, as the Catholic Church to be opining on ‘sexual complementarity’ makes as much sense as Illinois politicians holding forth on the topic of fiscal responsibility.”
And if George’s appeals to “logic” on marriage and sexual relations weren’t enough, he threw in an implied threat to axe the social services the Church provides under contract to the State of Illinois and other government bodies if the civil unions bill became law:
“The impact of this legislation on the Church’s social service ministries remains an important and thus far unanswered concern.”
The Gay Liberation Network believes that for far too long anti-LGBT organizations like the Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army have received millions of dollars from taxpayers, gay and non-gay alike, with no legally binding commitments to equality in employment and service provision. As one expert noted, “Generally speaking, Catholic Charities gets 65 percent of its funds from government, including the states.” (http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/3939/Catholic-charities-weather-states-budget-crises.aspx)
The February 13th protest will focus on three demands:
*** Oppose the anti-LGBT bigotry of the Catholic hierarchy; support the many pro-equal rights Catholics organizing for change within the denomination
*** Demand full equal marriage rights in Illinois
*** Demand that tax dollars no longer go to tax-exempt religious groups that refuse to commit to equal rights for LGBT people.
For more information about the February 13th protest, email the Gay Liberation Network at LGBTliberation@aol.com or call 773.209.1187