Last year Attey created a website to “aggregate reports on every gay priest” in the Archdiocese of Washington to help them “stand up to the church hierarchy” on homosexual issues. According to a WhoIs lookup, the website shares the same 12th Street, NW D.C. mailing address as Catholics for Equality.
In the 1990s Attey served as HRC’s electronic media manager. According to the gay publication Metro Weekly, he also co-chaired the Obama Pride Metro D.C. group to support the current U.S. president’s election bid.
For his part, Palaicos is a board member of Catholics for Equality and also political co-chair of the HRC’s D.C. Steering Community. According to his biography at the Georgetown University website, in 2009 he was appointed by the White House to serve on the board of visitors supervising what is commonly known as the School of the Americas, a U.S. training facility for Latin American military officers which has been criticized for its alumni’s alleged participation in human rights violations.
Issues listed on the Catholics for Equality website include “marriage equality.” Claiming that same-sex “marriage” does not coerce any religious faith, it invokes the “separation of Church and State” and says “we affirm civil marriage for same-sex couples throughout the United States.”
The group criticizes the U.S. bishops’ opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and advocates opening military service to open homosexuals.
“Catholics in the United States live in this social context that allows the free exercise of conscience rather than enforced scriptural fundamentalism or bishops’ and pastors’ exhortations in making decisions regarding homosexuality and gay rights— as is often exercised in Protestant fundamentalist and evangelical denominations and now by increasingly doctrinaire Catholic bishops,” the website argues.
It also claims that Catholic priests rarely mention homosexuality or homosexual issues in sermons “except when forced to by the bishops,” saying this coercion happened during the campaign to pass California’s Proposition 8 and Maine’s Proposition 1. Both successful ballot measures restored the definition of marriage to be a union of a man and a woman.
Other attendees at the Catholics for Equality organizing meeting included Joanna Blotner, coordinator of the HRC’s Religion and Faith Program; Sharon Groves, deputy director for the HRC’s Religion and Faith Program; Chuck Colbert, a journalist and contributor to the National Catholic Reporter; Shiva Subbaraman of the Georgetown LGBTQ Resource Center; and Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow at People for the American Way who facilitated the discussion.
The homosexual blogger Anthony Adams, who was ordained as a Catholic priest, attended the meeting as did Anne Underwood of Catholics for Marriage Equality in Maine and Charles Martel of Catholics for Marriage Equality in Massachusetts. California priest Fr. Geoffrey Farrow, who was disciplined by his bishop for opposing Proposition 8, also attended.
According to DignityUSA’s Matson, Cathy Renna, media relations director of Renna Communications, advised attendees on communications strategy. She praised Duddy-Burke’s lobbying related to the sexual abuse scandal.
While Catholics for Equality is a 501(c)(4) non-profit which can lobby on political issues, it has also planned a parallel non-political foundation to engage in campus outreach and to reach out to “prominent pro-equality Catholics in the entertainment, civic, business and sports areas, providing them a national platform as leading American Catholics to voice their support for LGBT equality.”
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