When the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, spoke against the passage of legislation legalizing gay marriage in Rhode Island recently, he termed it "is a serious injustice." He went on to comment on how the legalization of gay marriage was a danger to the family. Even with a doctorate in canon law, he failed to recognize the true injustice of unequal treatment of people under current federal marriage law. His viewpoint should be considered a misguided one that should be condemned and ridiculed, especially given his position.
Archbishop Cordileone's religious justification of this unequal treatment is embarrassing to Catholics, as were his previous efforts to pass California's Proposition 8, which blocked gay marriage in the state. The Archbishop's theologically conservative perspective is likely not representative of the entire 1.7 million parishioners within his archdiocese. San Francisco has become known for its progressive approach to many gay issues, and the Archbishop's continued advocacy is likely to draw lines and create conflict within the community that he oversees.
The area encompassing the Archbishop's diocese has already seen its share of violence as a result of clashes over gay rights. His actions and continued advocacy against gay marriage exacerbates tensions that exist within his own community. He even hinted that his view could be considered bigoted when he said, "If what we are teaching is bigotry and discrimination we're not going to be allowed to do that." He went on to say, "If we want to know how people who do hold that view will be treated, we have to think about how a racial bigot is treated in the country today."
Even the Archbishop sees the fate of those who support the continued discrimination and bigotry against the gay community. Why is this institutional bigotry acceptable from a church when it is based on sexual preference? Bigotry is equally unfair within our society, whether it comes as a result of sexual preference, skin color, or religious affiliation. While much of society has come to condemn bigotry in all forms, the Catholic Church has vocal leaders like Archbishop Cordileone clinging to an outdated view that alienates millions within his own archdiocese and our society.
What remains the true injustice in this conflict is that here is an instance where organized religion is condemning love. Archbishop Cordileone's comments unjustly force thousands of his own gay parishioners to feel alienated within the Catholic community. His comments increase tensions within the greater San Francisco community and embarrass the millions of Catholic Americans that do not share his outdated, myopic views. It is irresponsible rhetoric, and I look forward to the day when it is regarded by society with the same revulsion that we currently have for racism.