Urge San Francisco Archbishop to Cancel Appearance with Anti-LGBT Extremists

Letter to Archbishop  Cordileone

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
  • Alex Patchin McNeill, Executive Director, More Light Presbyterians
  • 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