Catholics for Equality Launches NationwideLogo

WASHINGTON – Sept. 14, 2010

Catholics who support LGBT equality have launched a new organization to mobilize the 62 percent of American Catholics who support freedoms for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Catholics for Equality and an affiliated foundation will channel that support into action for legislative, political and cultural change.
"Catholic support is not surprising," said Rev. Dr. Joseph Palacios, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University, and a founder of Catholics for Equality. "The importance of family is a key factor in shaping Catholic values, and as more and more Catholic families affirm their LGBT family and community members, they draw upon Catholic social justice teachings that call everyone to support the freedom to work, to serve in the military, to form families and to marry the person you love."Rev. Dr. Joseph Palacios,

"Catholics for Equality is being launched in response to the increasingly political and dogmatic activity of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops," said Dr. Palacios. "For too long they have relied on dogmatic mandates from the hierarchy rather than core Catholic teachings of love and justice. Sadly, the bishops have used offerings of faithful members to wage hostile political campaigns in California and Maine to defeat marriage equality, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and to prevent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from serving in the military."

Catholics for Equality will reach out to ordinary Catholics and parish lay leaders with current information on national and state level issues that affect all of our families.

"Most Catholics never hear about the massive amounts of money our bishops are diverting from essential charitable programs to spread lies about gay people in states across the country," said Anne Underwood, one of the founders of Catholics for Marriage Equality Maine, and a founder of Catholics for Equality. "The U.S. Bishops funneled over half a million dollars into Maine last year to overturn our state's law that allowed every person to marry the person they love. The U.S. Catholic bishops continue to be a major source of funding in every effort to block marriage, employment protections and military service for LGBT people. The bishops impose their political beliefs using money the faithful have contributed to care for the poor and work for a more just society. Our organizations will respectfully but firmly challenge this misuse of ecclesiastical power and parish funds."Anne Underwood

While building a support network at the parish and diocesan levels, the Catholics for Equality Foundation will provide dedicated Catholics with ways to talk effectively with their families and communities, while inspiring important discussions about putting their faith into action.

Catholics nationwide will bring their faith commitments to address ballot measures or legislative battles that deal with LGBT freedoms in California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington and other states.

"Our campaign is a sophisticated combination of online to offline voter identification, education, and mobilization strategies," said Phil Attey, a pioneer in online and social media organizing and a founder of Catholics for Equality. "Supporters will be able to connect to the campaign via email, web, Facebook, Twitter and through a suite of smartphone mobile apps, currently in production. Catholics will be able to make a difference, 24 hours a day, from home, church and anywhere in their community."Phil Attey

"Our efforts will be down to earth, in the pews and in our families. One of our first campaigns will be to encourage Catholics to engage their families in holiday discussions on LGBT freedoms. We hope to engage influential Catholic and their families from the entertainment, business, sports and political arenas to serve as role models of the importance of speaking out," said Attey.

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