Local Catholics are heading to Washington, D.C., later this month to mobilize against marriage equality.
The National Organization for Marriage is hosting its second annual March for Marriage on June 19, and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia remains the only listed archdiocesan sponsor in the country.
The event was conceived last year and held on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in California’s Proposition 8 case.
Earlier this week, the archdiocese was not initially listed as a sponsor on the march website; after calls to NOM from PGN, the organization said the sponsorship omission was a mistake.
“That was simply an oversight,” said NOM director of communications Joseph Grabowski.
The archdiocese’s logo was listed on the march website’s sponsor list later in the week. No other diocese or archdiocese in the nation is listed.
The archdiocese is running five buses to D.C., as it did last year, one leaving from a church in each of the local five counties. The buses were contracted through a $5,000 private donation, said Ken Gavin, director of the archdiocese’s Office for Communications.
Gavin said he expects about 200 local Catholics to participate, on par with last year’s numbers.
The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference was also listed as a sponsor last year, but Grabowski noted that the sponsorship system had been restructured to denote organizations that are supporting monetarily and those, like the archdiocese, that are running buses to the event.
PCC is supporting the event through promotions, said PCC director of communications Amy Hill.
“The PCC’s relationship to the March for Marriage is the same as last year,” Hill said. “We support the cause of the march. We have promoted the event on our website and certainly encourage Catholics to attend. Several dioceses are once again organizing buses to take parishioners down to D.C. for the day to participate. That is being organized at the local level. We have not made any other contributions beyond these things.”
Gavin said the archdiocese was “proud” to be a sponsor of the march.
“The March for Marriage is a public witness to the church’s commitment to promote its understanding of marriage,” he said. “Laws that defend the traditional definition of marriage were enacted to defend the rights of children and contribute to the well-being of the larger community.”
The archdiocese sharply criticized Pennsylvania legalizing marriage equality.
In a statement the day of the ruling, Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput called the federal judge’s ruling “a mistake with long-term, negative consequences.”
Gavin added that marriage, “in Catholic teaching and understanding,” is more than “a private arrangement between two people.”
“It’s a public commitment of love and fidelity, and it’s ordered not just to companionship but to creating and rearing new life,” he said. “This is why every child deserves a mother and a father in a loving marriage, and the child is the fruit of that love. Affirming the true definition of marriage denies no one his or her basic rights. On the contrary, protecting marriage affirms the equal dignity of women and men and safeguards the basic rights of children. As Catholics, we believe marriage needs to be strengthened, not redefined.”
From our media partner PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News.