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Gays To Picket Holy Name Cathedral

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Feb 5, 2010 8:00PM

In recognition of National Freedom to Marry Day, the Chicago-based LGBT advocacy organization Gay Liberation Network has planned an informational picket of Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral for Sunday, Feb. 14. The picket is intended to "highlight the role the Church’s leadership has played in promoting inequality."

GLN co-founder Andy Thayer explains: “In opposition to the desires of millions of lay Catholics for simple justice for all, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church has long aligned itself with, and often led, the forces of hate and bigotry opposing equal rights for gays and women ... “When haters garb themselves in clerical robes, their statements and activities must be exposed."

Thayer has noted the local example of Chicago Archbishop Francis George, who's reportedly worked against the cause of gay rights for some time, including attempts to remove the LGBT community as a protected class in the Illinois Human Rights Act and campaigning in support of California's Prop 8 as head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. And, obviously, he is far from alone in these efforts - the leading U.S. bishops issued a strongly-worded, 60-page pastoral letter addressing marriage last fall which read:

"The legal recognition of same-sex unions poses a multifaceted threat to the very fabric of society, striking at the source from which society and culture come and which they are meant to serve. Such recognition affects all people, married and non-married: not only at the fundamental levels of the good of the spouses, the good of children, the intrinsic dignity of every human person, and the common good, but also at the levels of education, cultural imagination and influence, and religious freedom."

Though George's name was on that letter, the bishop has shown some signs of breaking from the anti-gay pack: His diocese was "noticeably absent" from contributing dollars to the Catholic-led effort to overturn Maine's gay marriage legislation last year. And he has also supported an outreach program for gays and lesbians in the Church. Is there hope for a gay-friendly Catholic Church?

The Valentine's Day picket begins at 10:30 a.m. next Sunday.