The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco is facing strong backlash from liberal politicians for his decision to speak at Thursday’s March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops subcommittee for the promotion and defense of marriage. He has been an outspoken proponent defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
“Strengthening marriage and family is vitally important and necessary for the good of all,” Cordileone said last week at a gathering of Catholic bishops. More than 80 California politicians and Bay Area religious leaders sent an open letter to the archbishop asking him to cancel his appearance.
The signatories, including California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, allege some organizers of the march “contradict [the] Christian belief in the fundamental human dignity of all people.” The letter singles out two groups: the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council. Both organizations describe themselves as pro-family groups and oppose the normalization of homosexual relationships.
In a separate letter to Cordileone, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who represents the San Francisco area, called the March for Marriage “venom masquerading as virtue.”
For his part, the archbishop has called the March for Marriage “an important means to promote and defend marriage for the good of our culture … and to stand in solidarity with people of good will.”
Cordileone responded with a letter back to his detractors, saying the March for Marriage was “not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage march. … It affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union.”
Sociologist Bradford Wilcox presented some of his research on the economic aspects of marriage at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Spring General Assembly in New Orleans. In his speech, Wilcox noted the inequality in family structure among economic groups.
“The bottom line here, when it comes to describing what’s happening to the family in America, is that the U.S. is in danger of devolving into a separate and unequal family system where the highly educated and the affluent enjoy strong and stable households, and everyone else is consigned to increasingly unstable, unhappy, and unworkable ones,” he said.
Wilcox noted that working- and middle-class families had lower engagement at their jobs, less frequent church attendance, and more single-parent households. Among the poor, family structure is a top predictor of a child’s future economic opportunity, he said. Wilcox is the director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.
Listen to a longer excerpt from Wilcox’s speech to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on The World and Everything in It: