GLAAD joins 80 lawmakers, community, and faith leaders to ask Roman Catholic bishop to decline NOM March

GLAAD has signed onto a letter asking San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone to step down from involvement with the March for Marriage on June 19. Archbishop Cordileone, unfortunately, has an already saddening record when it comes to LGBT equality. Known as the "father of Prop 8," he has expressed his belief that gay peoples' "behaviors and lifestyle… so often end in self-destruction." If he proceeds with his plans to march for marriage, he will be joined by extreme anti-LGBT pundits like Mike Huckabee, the president of NOM, a scholar of the Heritage Foundation, the president of American Values, among others.

"We respect freedom of religion and understand that you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples. But the actions and rhetoric of NOM, and those of the event's speakers and co-sponsors, fundamentally contradict Christian belief in the fundamental human dignity of all people." the leaders write. "NOM has a long and well-documented history of publishing material that connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest and falsely suggests that gays and lesbians are trying to "inculcate children." Likewise, the Family Research Council, which is co-sponsoring the event, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their vitriolic rhetoric; recently, a spokesperson for FRC blamed the growing acceptance of marriage for same sex couples for the Isla Vista mass shootings."

"By speaking alongside these extremists, Archbishop Cordileone risks lending the church's authority to their vitriol and hatred - and undermining Pope Francis's call for a more compassionate church," reads a petition by Faithful America, urging him to cancel his attendance. " While Catholic teaching emphasizes the human dignity of gay and lesbian people, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council have a history of spouting hateful and damaging lies.

Several of the featured speakers include those whose extremist rhetoric has been profiles in GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project:

Brian Brown, President, National Organization for Marriage

  • Says homosexuality is "not logical" and "degrading to the human soul": "Well guess what — homosexuality IS a sin in the bible, and virtually every other sacred text out there. Engaging in homosexual sex IS considered by God to be sinful according to the teachings of most religions. And sin is NOT logical. Sin is deceitful, harmful and degrading to the human soul."
  • Recently attempted, via his national newsletter, to raise a link between marriage equality and pedophilia: "Will pedophiles become "minor-attracted persons" in our culture? Will courts which endorse orientation as a protected class decide down the road that therefore laws which discriminate against "minor-attracted persons" must be narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest?” 
  • Marched against openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson, with the Hartford Courant quoting hims as saying that the acceptance of homosexuality in the church marked the destruction of the American family and marriage.
  • Claims a law designed to protect transgnder students in California's public schools is "damaging," "madness," and "a weapon": "AB1266, the co-ed bathroom law, is a horrible attempt by activists to strip society of all gender roles and uses children as a weapon in their culture war. The National Organization for Marriage fully supports the efforts of the Privacy for All Students coalition to repeal this dangerous law. Opening our most vulnerable areas at school including showers, bathrooms and changing rooms to members of the opposite sex is politically-correct madness that risks the privacy and security of our children and grandchildren."..."They are forcing our school children to be exposed in showers and bathrooms to members of the opposite sex who claim a 'gender identity' with that sex. This new law doesn't prevent bullying - it is bullying. It is not about protecting kids; it damages kids."
  • Said: "Same-sex unions are not marriages. Political regimes based on lies about human nature cannot last. Same-sex marriage takes a sacred institution, with deep roots in human nature, and tries to turn it into the plaything of politicians, a creature of the state, a bundle of rights to be tossed about between adults. Something so feebly rooted, so fragilely constructed and imposed cannot last."
  • Said of separation between civil marriage and religious ceremony: "I don't accept this bifurcation between civil and religious marriage" (3:17-3:21)

Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor, Skyline Wesleyan Church

  • Called on Christians to rise up against America in the way that they did during the Revolutionary War: “They would pick up a musket and ask: 'Who's going to go fight with me?' And so the revolutionary armies during that time came from pastors leading the churches. It's known as the Blacked-Robed Regiment. And we need a black-robed regiment today. We need pastors who are willing to stand up. And we need persons who are in the pews to stand up with them -- a black-robed regiment of laypersons -- who's going to take a like stand."
  • Compared children losing their parents on 9/11 to children with gay parents: "Our President gave a speech a few days ago in which he said, ‘the tragedy of 9/11 was that it robbed so many children of having a mommy or a daddy.' Well, you know something Mr. President, your failure to defend marriage and to redefine marriage means that everybody who is under that redefined marriage will lack either a mommy or a daddy and that is morally wrong.”
  • Compares marriage equality to slavery: "Isn't it interesting that the African Americans that were brought here against their will, coercively, in bondage and chains in a horrific experience called slavery...they end up being, in state by state, in many cases, what has saved us from the bondage and enslavement that would come upon us if gay marriage actually passed in a state, California being a prime example where the African Americans saved us from the bondage we would've faced." (10:00 in 2nd clip)

Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr. Founder & President, High Impact Leadership Coalition

  • Says: "Folks who cannot reproduce want to recruit your kids"..."What we're facing is a radical force of people who want to change the way America looks the next twenty years, and we need to stop this thing now"..."We need to steal back the rainbow—we can't let the gays have it."
  • Said (1:10–2:05) gay activists' current marriage push is "just like during the times of Hitler"
  • Said (0:37–0:40) marriage equality is part of “a satanic plot to destroy our seed,"  and (1:06–1:30) “an assault” which “corrupts, perverts and pollutes.”
  • Says of the pro-equality NAACP: "The NAACP is about to become totally insignificant because they put their mouth and their alignment against the book, and if you stand against God, God has a way of standing against you—it ain't that difficult."  "God's wheels of justice" punish marriage equality supporters.

This is just some of the company that Cordileone will be keeping, if he chooses to attend the March for Marriage. Any message that tries to claim that the Roman Catholic Church has compassion and cares for LGBT people will be lost and buried in rhetoric about slavery, pedophilia, and Armageddon. This is why GLAAD's CEO and President, Sarah Kate Ellis, chose to add her name to the list of civic, faith, and community leaders to ask Cordileone to reconsider his involvement in such a divisive event.

Read the full text of the letter below:

Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone

One Peter Yorke Way

San Francisco 94109

June 10, 2014

Dear Archbishop Cordileone,

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that you cancel your participation in the National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) march and rally in Washington, D.C., on June 19, 2014.

We understand that people of good will may have genuinely heartfelt differences on the question of civil marriage for same-sex couples. Moreover, while not all of us agree with official Catholic teaching on marriage and family, we appreciate the many statements from Catholic leaders defending the human dignity of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, especially the recent words of Pope Francis: "If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Pope Francis’ words echo the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that lesbian and gay people "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

We respect freedom of religion and understand that you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples. But the actions and rhetoric of NOM, and those of the event's speakers and co-sponsors, fundamentally contradict Christian belief in the fundamental human dignity of all people.

NOM has a long and well-documented history of publishing material that connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest and falsely suggests that gays and lesbians are trying to "inculcate children." Likewise, the Family Research Council, which is co-sponsoring the event, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their vitriolic rhetoric; recently, a spokesperson for FRC blamed the growing acceptance of marriage for same sex couples for the Isla Vista mass shootings.

Other individuals with whom you would be marching and sharing the podium have repeatedly denigrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people:

Marriage for same-sex couples “would be like saying, well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs, so let’s go ahead and accommodate those who want who use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them.” --Mike Huckabee

"The ultimate goal of homosexual-rights activists is not to legalize same-sex marriage. Rather, it is to silence those who disagree with them and, if necessary, to throw them in jail.” -- Gary Bauer

"Folks who cannot reproduce want to recruit your kids". Marriage for same-sex couples is part of “a satanic plot to destroy our seed" . . . “an assault” which “corrupts, perverts and pollutes.” - - Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.:

“Well if it’s a civil right for a man to marry man, and a woman to marry woman, what’s the difference of a man deciding he wants to have sex with a dog?” -- Rev. Bill Owens, Sr.

Moreover, NOM's promotional video for this event – which includes your image - uses incendiary rhetoric about those who support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples:

“[Their] goal is silence and punishing anyone who disagrees. ... This is not tolerance, it’s tyranny. You have a choice. You can remain silent in the face of oppression or you can stand up and fight for the truth. ... These same sex advocates wish to silence anyone who disagrees with them.”

By standing alongside these individuals and organizations, you appear to be endorsing their troubling words and deeds, which directly contradict the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' pastoral teaching that "God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual. God's love is always and everywhere offered to those who are open to receiving it." (Always Our Children, 1997)

Many people of faith who have different opinions on the question of civil marriage for same-sex couples have come together in respectful dialogue and discernment to discuss those differences. Sadly, the actions of NOM and its invited speakers push us farther apart rather than bringing us together.

We ask that you will reconsider your participation and join us in seeking to promote reconciliation rather than division and hatred.


California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom

California State Senator Mark Leno

California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano

California Assemblymember Rich Gordon

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener

San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee

Dr. Michael J. Adee, Director, Global Faith and Justice Project, Horizons Foundation, San Francisco, California

Rev. Dr. Israel Alvaran, Western Region Organizer, Reconciling Ministries Network

The Very Rev. Dr. Brian Baker, Dean of the Cathedral, Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento, California

Ben-David Barr, MSW PhD, Executive Director, Rainbow Community Center, Concord, California

Selisse Berry, Founding Chief Executive Officer, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Gabriel Blau, Executive Director, Family Equality Council

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Founder School of the Americas Watch

Gary Buseck, Interim Executive Director Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD),

Rea Carey, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Debra Chasnoff, President and Senior Producer, Groundspark

Faith Cheltenham, President, BINET USA

Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry

Roger Doughty, Executive Director, Horizons Foundation

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, Dignity USA

Rev. Michael Ellick, Minister, Judson Memorial Church

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO, GLAAD

Leslie Ewing, Executive Director, Pacific Center

Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director, Call To Action USA

Bishop Yvette A. Flunder, Senior Pastor, City of Refuge UCC , Oakland, CA, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries

Earl Fowlkes, President & CEO, Center for Black Equality

The Rt. Rev'd Wendell N. Gibbs, Jr., 10th Episcopal Bishop of Michigan

Rabbi Roberto D. Graetz, Temple Isaiah, Lafayette, California

Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, Executive Coordinator, National Coalition of American Nuns

Sharon Groves, Director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign

Rev. Cedric A. Harmon, Co-Director, Many Voices: A Black Church Movement for Gay and Transgender Justice

Nancy Heilner, Executive Director, Queer LifeSpaceDavid Heitstuman, Board President & Interim Executive Director, Sacramento LGBT Community Center

Haven Herrin, Director, Soulforce

Kris Hayashi, Deputy Director, Transgender Law Center

The Rev. Anita C. Hill, Acting Director, ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation

Bill Hirsh, Executive Director, AIDS Legal Referral Panel

Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG National

Mary E. Hunt, Ph.D. Co-Founder/Director, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)

Dr. Delores A. Jacobs, CEO, The San Diego LGBT Community Center

Lorri L. Jean, CEO, Los Angeles LGBT Center

Paul Kawata, Executive Director, National Minority AIDS Council

Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights

Rev. Harry Knox, President and CEO, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director, Equality Federation

Andy Lang, Executive Director, Open and Affirming Coalition of the United Church of Christ

Abbe Land, Executive Director, Trevor Project

Rev. Phil Lawson, Pastor Emeritus of Easter Hill United Methodist Church, Richmond, California

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Beyt Tikkun Synagogue, Editor, Tikkun Magazine

Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Associate Dean for Community Life and Lifelong Learning, Clinical Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Practice, Boston University School of Theology

Rev. Reggie Longcrier, Senior Pastor, Exodus Missionary Outreach Church, Hickory, North Carolina

Rev. Dr. Cindi Love

Eileen Ma, Executive Director, API Equality-LA

Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa, and Community Presbyterian Church, Pittsburg, California

Rev. Jim Mitulski, Pastor, Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, Dallas, Texas

Eduardo Morales, PhD, Executive Director, AGUILAS of San Francisco

Kevin O’Grady, Executive Director, Orange County Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center

Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto Sr., Pastor Glide Memorial UMC

Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, President and Professor of Theology, Starr King School for the Ministry

Eva Patterson, Executive Director, Equal Justice Society

Claudia Peña, Statewide Director, California Civil Rights Coalition

Joan Pinkvoss, Executive Director, Aunt Lute Books

Rev. Dr. Riess W. Potterveld, President, Graduate Theological Union

Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, Former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

David Robinson, Bay Area Regional Director, KESHET

Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director, San Francisco LGBT Community Center

Rev. Dr. Dawn Roginski, Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Vallejo, California

James Rowe, Director, Believe Out Loud

Ellyn Ruthstrom, President, Bisexual Resource Center

Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, MALDEF

Dr. Bernard Schlager, Interim President, Associate Professor of Historical & Cultural Studies, Pacific School of Religion

Jodi L. Schwartz, Executive Director, LYRIC

Michael Sherrard, Executive Director, Faithful America

Brian Silva, Executive Director, Marriage Equality USA

Theresa Sparks, Executive Director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission

Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, 3rd Vice President, North Carolina NAACPJessica Stern, Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Terry Stone, CEO, Centerlink

Rev. Roland Stringfellow, Director of the African American Roundtable, Pacific School of Religion

Dr. Justin Tanis, Managing Director, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry

Vivian Taylor, Executive Director, Integrity USA

Julia Thoron, Chair, and Sam Thoron, PFLAG San Francisco

Lance Toma, LCSW, Executive Director, Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Dana Van Gorder, Executive Director, Project Inform

Rev. Dr. Mel White, Co-founder of Soulforce

Rev. Dennis W. Wiley, Ph.D., Pastor, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ, Washington, D.C.

Rev. Christine Y. Wiley, D. Min., Pastor, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ

Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, Moderator, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches

Evan Wolfson, Founder and President, Freedom to Marry

Rick Zbur, Executive Director Elect, Equality California