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Say Comparison to Britney Spears is "cruel and inappropriate"

New York, NY, February 9, 2004 — Leaders of Dignity New York, an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Catholics, strongly criticized Cardinal Edward Egan's remarks on gay marriage at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday, February 8.

"It is cruel and wildly inappropriate to compare Britney Spears' 48-hour marriage to gay couples who have been together for ten, twenty, and thirty years," said Jeff Stone, a spokesperson for the group. "Any problems that may exist with the institution of marriage have nothing to do with same-sex couples who want to marry.  These are people who want to join the institution of marriage and strengthen it, not tear it down."

"We believe that our relationships are holy and that one day they will be recognized as holy by the Catholic Church.  But we must not confuse civil marriage with religious marrriage.  Civil marriage for gay couples will not force any religion to perform same-sex marriages.  This is an issue of basic fairness and fundamental civil rights for all Americans, not religious ceremonies."

Stone went on to say, "In many cases, gay couples have been together in loving partnerships longer than many heterosexual marriages last.  Many same-sex couples are also raising children in healthy, happy homes.  There is not a single reputable study that shows that these children are any different from children raised in homes with opposite-sex parents."

"It is astonishing that with all the serious problems in the world, the Catholic bishops are spending so much energy trying to prevent gay couples from marrying.  If the Catholic bishops had spent half as much effort on preventing sexual abuse as on the issue of gay marriage, we would all be much better off."

Dignity New York is a chapter member of DignityUSA, the nation's oldest and largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, their families, friends and supporters. Founded in 1972, Dignity New York is marking its thirty-second year of ministry in the New York area.