SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's Roman Catholic archbishop will be skipping a Washington D.C. rally against same-sex marriage this year.

The San Francisco archdiocese announced the decision by Salvatore Cordileone on its website Wednesday night.

Cordileone sparked intense debate earlier this year when he required some local church staffers to sign statements condemning homosexual relations as "gravely evil." About 100 parishioners took out a newspaper ad last week asking for Cordileone's removal.

The San Francisco church leader attended the march against gay marriage last year and led a prayer rally outside the Supreme Court.

The statement by the San Francisco archdiocese said the local Catholic leader would miss this year's march next week. It said Cordileone would be with the marchers "in spirit and prayer."

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