Washington, DC, November 8, 1999 — DignityUSA, a voice for lesbian and gay Catholics nationwide, believes that California's Catholic bishops are guilty of "political homophobia" in their support of a state-wide ballot initiative which would define marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
DignityUSA is especially appalled that local Catholic dioceses in the state have contributed over $340,000 in support of the so-called Knight Initiative, which will be on the March 2, 2000 State ballot. DignityUSA President Mary Louise Cervone said, "DignityUSA believes that the proposed law is unnecessary, discriminatory, and mean-spirited. The diversion of Church funds to support the electoral proposal is especially unconscionable in light of the crying needs of the poor and marginalized people of California and all the world."
As Catholics, DignityUSA and its members stand in strong opposition to the initiative proposal. Cervone went on to say, "A caring and proactive defense of marriage and family life would concern itself with supportive ministries to couples and families, addressing problems such as poverty, spousal abuse, health care issues and parent-child communication. Spending church money to prevent some hypothetical, future civil recognition of same sex couples is homophobic, and sinful in light of these other societal needs."
DignityUSA Executive Director Charles L. Cox said, "To claim that the bishops are defending families and the institution of marriage by supporting the Knight Initiative is a callous and cynical disregard for the civil and human rights of all people. While the bishops disregard and marginalize the life-giving and committed relationships of lesbian and gay people, DignityUSA has chosen to honor those relationships with the only national registry of Holy Unions."
DignityUSA's Registry of Holy Unions and its Couples' Ministry, established in 1997, provide ongoing support for same sex couples. Cervone said, "It is Dignity's belief that same sex relationships can and do model Christian love. They are life-giving and life-affirming. Our families, like all families, are a manifestation of God's love and presence in our lives.
DignityUSA, founded in 1969, is the nation's largest organization of Catholic lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons, their families and friends.