Actual Treatment of Gays Belies Archbishop Dolan’s TV Welcome

NY Archbishop Timothy Dolan got some good press this week for saying on a Sunday morning show that he loves gay people and so does God.

Here’s one problem with the “warm embrace” that Dolan offered to gay people: GLAAD reports that Nicholas Coppola, an active parishioner at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church on Long Island, has been stripped of all his many roles and responsibilities in the parish because he legally married his long-time partner.

“Being shunned from a community that means so much to me takes a toll, not just to me, but to those around me,” Coppola says. “My mom cried. My husband has been a great source of support for me, but he is also struggling with this action. Even my fellow parishioners are hurt and angry that I can’t be involved in the parish anymore.”

In a follow-up to coverage of Dolan’s appearance, Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the communications director for the US Conference of Catholic bishops, expressed shock (shock!) that anyone was surprised by Dolan’s remarks, saying the church is so welcoming that it even expects people who have been excommunicated to show up for Mass. So I guess Coppola is still “welcome” to show up; he’s just not welcome to share his gifts with fellow parishioners.

A couple of points. First, as activist and blogger John Becker has noted, the substance of Dolan’s comments didn’t really match his tone. For all his rhetorical love for gay people, he says the only kind of relationships we are “entitled to” is “friendship.” Thanks but no thanks.

“We try our darndest to make sure we’re not anti-anybody,” said Dolan. Well, if his “we” means the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, their “darndest” hasn’t been all that convincing, as even Dolan admitted. The bishops and their religious right allies have poured millions into campaigns portraying same-sex couples as a threat to children and families; they have insisted that equality for LGBT people is incompatible with religious liberty; and they have pulled out all the stops to prevent same-sex couples from getting married. Sorry, but this happily married gay guy finds that a little “anti-somebody.”

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