The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Paul Guequierre | | 202-423-2860
Angela Dallara | | 646-430-3925

Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry Ask Catholic Bishops to End Support of Anti-Gay National Organization for Marriage

Catholic hierarchy’s support of fringe group out of step with fair-minded lay Catholics


Today, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, sent a letter to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, calling on the Catholic Church hierarchy and affiliated groups such as the Knights of Columbus to end their financial support and collaboration with the shell-group known as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

HRC recently uncovered NOM documents soliciting funds for its plans to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks," and to manipulate Hispanic communities by "making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity" and "to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of 'Anglo' culture." It is believed the Catholic Church hierarchy has poured millions of dollars into NOM. The Knights of Columbus alone have funneled over one million dollars to NOM.

"We are asking the Catholic Bishops to spread the message that all people are loved," said Joe Solmonese. "Cardinal Dolan has the opportunity to denounce race-baiting and attempts at ethnic division, and in doing so would be representing the views of fair-minded lay Catholics across the country, who overwhelmingly support LGBT equality."

"The Catholic Church hierarchy is way out of step with the majority of Catholics, who, like the majority of Americans, support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples," said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry. "We call on the Bishops to stop funneling funds through NOM and to repent and renounce the toxic tactics they have supported in anti-gay campaigns that pit Americans against Americans, minorities against minorities, and family members against family members."

Civil rights leaders, including the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Council of La Raza, have publicly condemned NOM in the recent weeks. NOM's divisive and anti-LGBT strategies come at a time when public support for civil marriage for LGBT people is on the rise, particularly among Catholics. The Public Religion Research Institute recently confirmed that 71 percent of American Catholics support civil marriage for same-sex couples.

A copy of the letter to Cardinal Dolan here.

Freedom to Marry is the gay and non-gay partnership working to win marriage equality nationwide. Headed by Evan Wolfson, one of America's leading civil rights advocates and lawyers, Freedom to Marry brings new resources and a renewed context of urgency and opportunity to this social justice movement.