Gay-rights activists protest at Holy Name Cathedral
Dozens decry Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage
Chicago Tribune - LINK
February 14, 2010 7:59 PM
GLN permalink 2-14-2010
Attending Mass at Holy Name Cathedral was supposed to be one of the final Valentine's Day weekend treats for Cindy White and her husband, who had traveled to Chicago from Hampshire, Ill., to celebrate the romantic holiday.
Instead, the couple found themselves wading through nearly 100 men and women who had gathered outside the cathedral this morning to protest the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage and other stances that they see as unjust to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The protesters waved rainbow flags and shouted slogans like, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia has got to go!" and, "Holy Name, holy shame!"
It wasn't the first time gay-rights activists have protested on Valentine's Day as a chance to champion equal rights and target the Catholic Church.
Last year, the Gay Liberation Network helped organize a march from the city building in which marriage licenses are issued to Holy Name to show support for gay marriage, said Andy Thayer, the group's co-founder.
"We want to drag the church's bigotry out of the closet," said Thayer, 49.
Protester Andrew Ciscel, of Chicago, said Valentine's Day should be viewed as Freedom to Marry Day. He passed out pamphlets calling on members of the Catholic community to withhold their weekly tithe, confront their priest and criticize the "rigid definition of families and the patriarchal posture of the church."
Colleen Dolan, spokeswoman for the Chicago Archdiocese, said the protesters were misdirected.
"They may not like it, but it's the teaching of the church that marriage is between one man and one woman," Dolan said. "Those of us in the church don't get to choose what the teachings are."
Many parishioners and visitors to the cathedral criticized the protest.
"They're really annoying," a flustered White said, after pushing her way through the crowd. "They took up all the parking. And I just don't agree with them."
Josie Beavers, 27, of Chicago, stood with the protesters but lamented some of their harsh language.
"I'm upset by their angry tone," Beavers said. "On Valentine's Day, we should be celebrating love. I'd rather focus on what I'm for than what I'm against."
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