Discrimination and the Catholic Church

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We got a flood of reaction to our front page last week. The first reaction to last week’s PGN Person of the Year cover for me was when I ran into District Attorney Lynne Abraham. She said, “Another major interview — you guys are really racking them up.”

But my favorite was that some readers thought it was an early April Fool’s joke. After all, the other headline on the page was “Bush signs pro-gay bill.”

Why should Cardinal Justin Rigali matter to you? LGBT people are more likely to face discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations. And LGBT people in the closet are more likely to be the targets. We recently wrote about an award-winning closeted teacher in a Philadelphia suburb who lost his job just because the principal discovered he was gay. The teacher had absolutely no recourse. At present, the cardinal supports this discrimination.

So back to Rigali. As last week’s cover story indicated, the cardinal and the Catholic Conference are even further behind than President Bush on gay issues. And since the conference headed by Rigali is a major lobbying force with our legislature, it is time to spotlight who is supporting discrimination against you. Yes, the cardinal and the conference believe in discrimination.

Remember Proposition 8 in California? What the Mormons were (and are) to Prop. 8 in California, Rigali and his Catholic Conference are to discrimination in Pennsylvania.

As we move forward on the nondiscrimination front, we should also make it crystal clear that nondiscrimination legislation has nothing to do with marriage. That is an entirely different issue and legislation. Rigali and company might attempt to confuse the two.

On the other hand, if Rigali and company do not wish to be viewed as pro-segregation Gov. George Wallace — standing in the school doorway to uphold segregation — it’s time to speak out for nondiscrimination.

Mark Segal is PGN publisher. He can be reached at [email protected].