Earlier this week, Bill Donahue, head of the notorious anti-LGBT group the Catholic League, emailed NYC Pride and asked to participate in the 44th annual NYC LGBT Pride March with a banner that reads “Straight is Great." Though he was hoping to stir up controversy, the parade organizers (as well as GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis) welcomed Donahue to join as a learning experience.
Further countering Bill's intended message, Michael O'Laughlin wrote an op-ed for The Advocate yesterday, called "Gay and Faithful Aren't Mutually Exclusive." In it, he wrote:
This is what those in Donohue’s camp don’t understand.
It’s not one or the other; this isn’t a zero-sum game. LGBT people should celebrate being their authentic selves. So should straight people. Draw the circle wide, as the hymn I learned in divinity school says.
Here’s the thing about Donohue. He riles up people for money. He doesn’t believe in the bigotry he inspires. In fact, just last month he admitted that he believes LGBT people should be legally protected against discrimination in the workplace.
But something Donohue might not understand is that to be a person of faith is not at odds with being an openly LGBT person. As a fellow Catholic, he surely knows as many holy and healthy gay priests as I do. So to claim that gay people who ask to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade are attacking Catholicism, as he does, is nonsense.
Donohue writes that Guinness’s decision to withdraw its sponsorship of New York’s St. Paddy's Day parade "has more to do with anti-Catholicism than with anti-Irish sentiment. Gay activists, and their tony heterosexual buddies, don’t have a beef with the Irish — they seek to punish Catholics for holding to traditional moral beliefs."
Many gay activists are Catholic. Some of us are Irish. We don’t have a beef with either group.
I’d be happy to explain this to Donohue further, perhaps over a Guinness.
Michael isn't the only one who knows it to be true that being religious does not necessarily negate support for the LGBT community. In Detroit earlier this month, 20-25 people gathered two days in a row at a vigil of protest. Representatives of faith-based, LGBT-friendly organizations demonstrated against the notion that LGBT Catholics must abstain from romantic relationships.
A recent poll revealed that the majority of religious Americans support LGBT equality issues, like marriage equality and workplace protections.