Homosexual Activism in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Part I: Catholic Charities CYO

Catholic Charities and "Domestic Partnerships"

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Through Catholic Charities CYO (CCCYO) of San Francisco the activists have sought to normalize homosexual relationships, and to place them on a level of equality with heterosexual relationships and natural families. They have been successful.

The first step was to force the Archdiocese of San Francisco to recognize the same-sex “domestic partners” of CCCYO employees as equally deserving of benefits as are the married spouses of employees. This was in 1997. What follows is a list of headlines from the major San Francisco newspapers documenting the course of events. Please click on a link to go the story.

January 28, 1997: Church wants out of S.F. law on benefits.
-Eric Brazil and Rachel Gordon, SF Examiner.

January 28, 1997: Church, S.F. Clash Over Partners Law. Prelate seeks exemption for Catholic Charities.
-Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

January 30, 1997: Catholic Charities delays AIDS event Flap over domestic partners alienates gay employees.
-Susan Ferriss, SF Examiner.

February 1, 1997: Partners: Catholics offer a trade-off. Would avoid using term but still pay the extra benefits.
-Rachel Gordon, SF Examiner.

February 3, 1997 Levada: Church to defy S.F. on partners. Benefits would flout moral code, archbishop says.
-Elizabeth Fernandez, SF Examiner.

February 7, 1997 S.F. Archbishop Agrees To Discuss Partners Policy.
- Torri Minton, Chronicle Staff Writer


As the above headlines shows, the Church began by opposing this policy, but ended up by adopting it. What we consider significant was the position of Catholic Charities during this conflict. They sided with the city and against the Church:

“With strong connections to the Bay Area gay community - and with gay employees itself – the group (Catholic Charities) has struggled at times to distance itself from Catholic anti-homosexual doctrine, according to some gay Catholics. But that division has been difficult to maintain, say ex-employees, who complain they couldn't hand out condoms, discuss safe sex in an unrestricted fashion or disagree with decisions by the hierarchy. – “Catholic Charities delays AIDS event. Flap over domestic partners alienates gay employees.”
-SF Examiner, January 30, 1997

“Franco Lacayo, a former Catholic Charities AIDS case manager who resigned three years ago, said there were many gay people working at Catholic Charities. He said that when he worked at the agency he had been frustrated because he wasn't supposed to hand out condoms and because gay people were discouraged from displaying gay slogans . . . Catholic Charities spokesman Nelson, who says he is gay himself, disputed Torrigino's claim.” – Catholic Charities delays AIDS event. Flap over domestic partners alienates gay employees.
-SF Examiner, January 30, 1997

“(Controller Harvey) Rose would not say Friday whether he was endorsing expansion of the definition of domestic partners. But Supervisor Susan Leal said that was one of his ideas. She said a representative of Catholic Charities had also floated the proposal. “This is a way for them not to use the term domestic partners, but we'd still get the same thing,” (Gay Supervisor Susan) Leal said.
– SF Examiner, February 1, 1997

“Despite the archbishop's stance, some officials with church-affiliated groups, such as Catholic Charities and Catholic Health Bay West, have been floating an alternative that may pass muster with San Francisco officialdom: Rather than mandate that benefits be provided to domestic partners in the traditional definition of a nonmarried lover, allow them to be offered to any second member of the worker's household, be it a brother, mother, spouse, platonic roommate or lover”. –Levada: Church to defy S.F. on partners. Benefits would flout moral code, archbishop says.
-SF Examiner, February 3, 1997.

 What was the response of openly homosexual Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who led the city’s effort against the Church?

“I think this is a very positive step for the two entities -- the archdiocese and the city - to try to coexist without devaluing each other's principles,'' (Gay Supervisor Tom) Ammiano said. –S.F. Archbishop Agrees To Discuss Partners Policy.
-SF Chronicle, February 7, 1997

Archbishop (now Cardinal) William Levada commented later on the events:

“It is estimated that about 15 percent of the population is homosexual. When rallied to a cause, they represent far more than 15 percent of the vote and the political clout in this city. It is a given in San Francisco, I am told, that politicians concerned about their future weigh very carefully the impact of their speech and actions on the gay and lesbian voters...But it would be my hope that our experience here would provide good reasons why any proposal elsewhere for similar legislation on domestic partners should be defeated. .
–The San Francisco Solution, William J. Levada, First Things 75 (August/ September 1997).

 

Step 1 was complete. Homosexual relationships were now formally recognized by CCCYO as equal with natural marriage.

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