Sunday, July 26, 2009

Gay Rights - Catholic Church Would Rather Spend Money to End Marriage Equality than Save Churches

Gay Rights - Catholic Church Would Rather Spend Money to End Marriage Equality than Save Churches

Maine became the sixth state to legalize marriage equality earlier this year, when the state legislature passed a bill recognizing same-sex marriage in May. In the wake of Maine's same-sex marriage laws, a handful of anti-LGBT activists have launched a campaign to kill marriage equality, and the state's Catholic Church has taken the lead in these efforts. The Catholic Diocese of Maine, in fact, gave $100,000 toward efforts to defeat marriage equality, and the Diocese's main communications guy, Marc Mutty, is a leading spokesperson for the anti-LGBT movement in Maine.

Here's an interesting fact, though: While the Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine gave $100,000 to bash the rights of gays and lesbians, they also had to close two parishes in Lewiston, Maine, as well as fire employees at Trinity Catholic School. The reason for the parish closings and the firing of Catholic school employees? Declining revenue.

Maybe, just maybe, the Catholic Diocese of Portland should stop spending money on anti-LGBT campaigns, and instead spend a little money taking care of their own. Instead, they're hemmorhaging money toward an effort to beat back civil rights, while churches are forced to close and Catholic school employees get fired. Talk about misplaced priorities.

Mutty, the anti-LGBT spokesperson from the Diocese, even seemingly admitted that people might start to question the priorities of the Catholic Church. Here's a quote from the Sun Journal in Maine from Mutty:

There's no question that some would say that it's a shame we have to spend this kind of money on this kind of issue when we should be spending it on the poor or those kinds of things.

Here's a memo to Mutty: not only would some people say it's misdirected to spend this type of money on denying rights to gays and lesbians instead of on initiatives for the poor, but Jesus himself would have likely said the same thing, too.

The Catholic Church isn't the only one guilty of this, either. Focus on the Family, which has already had to lay off more than 20 percent of its staff, has found a way to funnel more than $30,000 into Maine to blast marriage equality.

Here's one last interesting tidbit of information about the efforts of anti-LGBT forces in Maine to end marriage for gays and lesbians. Despite the fact that the Catholic Church, Focus on the Family, and other national organizations have raised more than $300,000 for their discriminatory campaign, only $400 has been raised from actual Maine citizens to defeat marriage equality. So it sure seems that while national groups throw money into Maine, the state's actual citizens aren't backing them up with resources from their own pocketbook. Might that be a sign that these national organizations and the Catholic Church are out of step with Maine's population on the issue of marriage equality?

One can only hope so. For more information on the battle taking place in Maine over marriage equality, check out Maine Freedom to Marry.

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