Francis McGuinness, associate risk manager for the Rockville Centre diocese, met Coppola in the vestibule of the diocesan building. McGuinness took the printed pages of signatures but did not invite Coppola inside, claiming that Murphy, Brennan, and the diocesan communications officer were not in the office. McGuinness told Coppola and members of the media he did not know where they were or when they would return.
Coppola asked McGuinness to pass on his invitation for further dialogue with the bishops.
Within hours of receiving the petition, the diocese issued a statement, saying in part, "The Catholic Church recognizes that all persons share equally in the dignity of being human ... This does not however justify the creation of a new definition for marriage."
"This is not an isolated incident," Ross Murray told the press gathered outside the diocesan offices. In his post as director of news and faith initiatives for GLAAD, an advocacy group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, Murray has heard numerous stories of Catholics "denied the sacraments and removed from jobs." It was GLAAD that first broke Coppola's story last week.
Jamie Manson of the National Catholic Reporter does an excellent job telling the story of Nicholas Coppola and why he holds hope for the Roman Catholic Church. The full article if worth a read.