Catholic hierarchy slams Obama on gay rights record
Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a strongly-worded letter to President Obama this week criticizing Obama’s efforts on gay rights, particularly the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“I write with a growing sense of urgency about recent actions taken by your Administration that both escalate the threat to marriage and imperil the religious freedom of those who promote and defend marriage,” wrote Dolan. “Unfortunately the only response to date has been the intensification of efforts to undermine DOMA and the institution of marriage.”
Specifically, the bishops oppose a decision by Obama not to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in federal courts.
The bishops also noted Obama’s support for foster care and adoption rights for same-sex couples, the implementation of LGBT-themed sensitivity trainings in the some federal departments and proposals to allow legally-married same-sex couples to reside in military housing for married couples.
But, the main thrust of Dolan’s letter was on DOMA.
“The Justice Department’s move, in addition to other troubling federal decisions occurring recently, prompts me yet again to register my grave concerns,” wrote Dolan. “The content of this letter reflects the strong sentiment expressed at a recent meeting by more than thirty of my brother Bishops who serve on the Administrative Committee of our episcopal conference. I know they are joined by hundreds of additional Catholic bishops throughout our nation. My observations are offered in the spirit of respectful, but frank dialogue.”
While the Catholic Church continues to vigorously oppose any relationship rights or recognition for same-sex couples, polling shows that an overwhelming majority of Catholics support either civil unions or same-sex marriage.