San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, is scheduled to speak at the National Organization for Marriage’s march and rally next week in Washington, D.C.
According to NOM’s website, the June 19 March for Marriage lists Cordileone as a featured speaker, along with several well-known anti-gay leaders. On Tuesday the archbishop’s name and photo were briefly removed from the website, but by late Tuesday Cordileone’s photo was back on the site.
On Tuesday, June 10, 87 LGBT leaders and allies signed an open letter to the archbishop, asking that he cancel his participation in the march and rally. Signers of the letter include a who’s who of LGBT leadership: state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco); Assemblymen Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park); and Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos. Business leaders also signed on, including Selisse Berry, executive director of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates.
Allies include Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco’s former mayor, and Eva Paterson of the Equal Justice Society.
The letter, also signed by dozens of religious and faith leaders, makes mention of Pope Francis’s comment from last year, when he said, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
“We respect freedom of religion and understand that you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples,” the letter states. “But the actions and rhetoric of NOM, and those of the event’s speakers and co-sponsors, fundamentally contradict Christian belief in the fundamental dignity of all people.”
The letter goes on to explain NOM’s well-documented history of publishing material that “connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest…” It also points out that march co-sponsor the Family Research Council has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Religious leaders signing the letter include the Right Reverend Wendell N. Gibbs Jr., 10th Episcopal bishop of Michigan; the Reverend Cedric A. Harmon, co-director of Many Voices: A Black church Movement for Gay and Transgender Justice; and the Reverend Elder Nancy Wilson, moderator of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
LGBT community center directors also signed the letter, including Rebecca Rolfe from San Francisco, Leslie Ewing from the Pacific Center in Berkeley, Ben-David Barr from the Rainbow Community Center in Concord; and Lorri Jean from the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
Calls to the San Francisco Archdiocese seeking comment on Cordileone’s participation in the march were not immediately returned.