Washington – The Oklahoma City Archdiocese has sent $1,000 to Minnesota specifically for the purpose of funding anti-gay discrimination. The finding is part of a new report from the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights (LGBT) organization, that shows the Roman Catholic Church and its ally, the National Organization for Marriage, are responsible for funding nearly 60 percent of all anti-equality efforts in the four states where marriage equality for same-sex couples is on the ballot this fall: Minnesota, Maryland, Washington and Maine.
The influx of money from Oklahoma City is part of $180,000 from Dioceses across the country that has gone into the battle in Minnesota. Parishioners were likely unaware that their donations were being directed out-of-state, as opposed toward local shelters, domestic violence program, and diocesan facilities upkeep.
The Oklahoma City Archdiocese made this donation despite the fact that a strong majority of Catholics – nearly 60 percent – support marriage equality. In fact, many Catholics support equality for specifically because they feel the Catholic Church’s social doctrine compels them to treat everyone with dignity, love, and respect. Instead, the Roman Catholic leadership in Oklahoma City is choosing to use Church dollars to fund discrimination.
“The Catholic Church hierarchy has positioned itself as the leading religious organization funding discrimination against LGBT people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Perhaps most disturbing is the number of local parishes redirecting the hard-earned dollars of its members in the name of discrimination. The majority of Catholics support equality for LGBT people – they want their dollars funding things like soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and domestic violence programs; not discrimination against people several states away. The Church hierarchy owes the laity an explanation as to why they are spending this much money on discrimination, and at what cost to other crucial Church programs.”
The HRC report, available at www.hrc.org/catholicreport, breaks down publicly reported in-kind and cash expenditures from the Church hierarchy and the Knights of Columbus to the four ballot states. In Minnesota, the Church has funded over 50 percent of the effort to write discrimination into the state constitution – spending over $608,000. That figure includes significant investments from the Knights of Columbus, as well as thousands of dollars from small parishes all across the country.
The hefty financial investments from the Catholic Church come as bishops in some of the largest faith communities in the country speak out with increasing frequency against LGBT people. In San Francisco, the newly appointed Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone was one of the chief architects of Proposition 8. Under his guidance, Catholic organizations in California led the charge in financing the Prop 8 campaign. In Newark, New Jersey, Archbishop John J. Myers has called on supporters of marriage equality to abstain from receiving Communion. And in Minneapolis-St. Paul, parishioners have walked out of services as pastors read letters against marriage equality from Archbishop John C. Nienstedt.
Learn more about the work of the Church hierarchy and its allies in fighting marriage equality this election cycle at www.hrc.org/catholicreport.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.