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Washington, DC, October 16, 2003 — As President Bush and conservative leaders mark the so-called "Marriage Protection Week," DignityUSA and its chapters and members across the country call upon supportive Catholics everywhere to stand with same-sex couples who are seeking marriage rights and challenge the arguments of the opponents of same-sex marriage.

"From the White House to the Vatican to the news conferences of our own bishops, officials keep repeating the mantra that somehow, by acting fairly and providing rights to same-sex couples, heterosexual marriage is diminished," said Sam Sinnett, president of DignityUSA. "When pressed on this point, no one has any evidence or reasonable arguments. In fact, we believe greater fairness strengthens all of society by respecting and honoring all kinds of families. We continue to advocate for the right to marry for same sex couples — both civil marriage in society and sacramental marriage in our Church. This is a matter of fairness in our democratic country and a matter of justice and recognition for the thousands of same-sex families that worship in Catholic churches."

Dignity chapters across the country are working in coalition with other groups to speak the truth of same-sex partnerships, show the world how same-sex couples are raising children and contributing to their communities. Recent efforts include events hosted by Dignity/Chicago and Dignity/Boston and others are planned.

DignityUSA leaders call on all Catholics to become part of the public and private dialogue on this policy matter — in the civil arena and the church — and to consider the historical social justice stance of the Roman Catholic Church with regard to the expansion of civil rights.

"Speak out to your elected officials, write a letter to your bishop, and start a conversation in the church hall after Mass" urged Sinnett. "Your stories, as supportive straight Catholics, joined with the voices of the membership of DignityUSA, will be heard!"

Recently, the board of directors of DignityUSA and the membership assembled for the biennial convention adopted a resolution on same-sex marriage, saying:

"As Americans, we remind our fellow citizens of a foundational principle of our form of government: all are created equal. Consistent with the pursuit of liberty and justice for all, same-sex couples should have full and equal access to the rights and responsibilities bestowed by civil marriage.

"As Catholics, we remind our Church of a foundational conviction of our faith: God is love and all who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them. The love that brings and binds two people of the same, or opposite sex, together has a divine source. It is therefore sacramental in nature and should be celebrated as such by our Church."

DignityUSA is the only national Catholic organization that offers a multifaceted program of support for same-sex couples and blesses their commitments in chapters across the country. DignityUSA maintains a national couples registry to recognize and record these unions.

DignityUSA is the foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, their families, friends and supporters. Founded in 1969, it is an independent nonprofit organization with members and Chapters across the country. For more information, please visit