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GLN permalink 2-14-2010
February 14, 2010 - About 100 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights activists chose Valentine's Day to picket Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral to draw attention to the Catholic hierarchy's continued opposition to equal rights both within the church and in society at large.
For video of the protest sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network (GLN), go HERE.
A particular focus of the protest was Chicago's Cardinal George, who has worked tirelessly - albeit from behind the scenes - to block our path to full legal equality:
*** Blocking same sex-marriage and/or civil unions in Illinois.
*** Attempting to kill LGBT inclusion as a protected class in the Illinois Human Rights Act. In other words, he opposed gays' equal access to jobs, housing and access to public accommodations.
*** He and other Catholic bishops circulated petitions in a failed effort to force an anti-gay advisory referendum on marriage.
*** As head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, George has directed that tens of thousands be spent promoting the anti-gay Proposition 8 in California.
*** And just last week, the Huffington Post reported that "Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago denounced a D.C.-area ministry that describes itself as 'gay-positive' and seeks to build bridges between gays and the Church."
*** Congressman Gutierrez's office recently told a GLN representative that opposition from the Catholic Church, presumably directed by Cardinal George, was the reason that all LGBT protections were stripped from the current immigration reform bill he's sponsoring.
The anti-civil rights posture of the current Pope was also highlighted:
*** His blasting of equal rights legislation for women and gays in Britain ahead of his visit there this fall
*** His rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying bishop, Richard Williamson
*** As a former member of the Hitler Youth, his move to bestow sainthood on the WWII Pope Pius XII, who did nothing to oppose the Holocaust of 9 million Jews, gays, Gypsies and others.
*** His labeling Lesbians and Gays as "intrinsically disordered," thus dehumanizing us. Dehumanization is the first step towards making it publicly acceptable to hate a group, opening the door to discrimination and violence.
Most present-day gay leaders - with the honorable exception of Britain's Peter Tatchell - have taken a pass on highlighting and demonstrating against religious leaders' opposition to our equality.
In doing so, they ignore the lessons of how we have won LGBT victories in the past, and why we suffered critical defeats like California's Proposition 8 and Maine's Question 1.
Key to the historic victories over gay-haters Anita Bryant and Dr. Laura Schlessinger was our community making them the issue - relentlessly pounding them for their anti-gay bigotry, quoting their hateful statements, labeling them as vile bigots, and thus "peeling off" their soft supporters. Once they lost that support, they no longer had power over us, or the ability to influence referenda, legislation and court decisions.
In contrast, when anti-gay campaigners including Catholic leaders successfully promoted Proposition 8 and Question 1, they took the battle to us, relentlessly labeling us as child molesters in a manner very reminiscent of Anita Bryant. And we remained punching bags. Our "leaders" didn't strike back, labeling the anti-gay leaders as bigots and haters. And we lost.
After the pivotal Proposition 8 defeat, many LGBT commentators vowed that we must learn the lessons of that defeat and not repeat them in Maine and elsewhere. Unfortunately, by taking a pass on highlighting anti-gay haters and making them the issue, they are failing to learn the lessons of the campaign against Anita Bryant, a campaign that was undertaken and won under far more difficult conditions.
NOTE: If you run a blog or website, higher-resolution versions of these pics are available by emailing the Gay Liberation Network at LGBTliberation@aol.com Many thanks to Erica Brooks for processing the pictures and Ronnie Drantz for providing the video!