Bush & Vatican stance on gay marriage outrages San Francisco community
August 4, 2003
SAN FRANCISCO - Gays in the US gay hub of San Francisco are expressing shock and outrage over opposition to same-sex marriage by the Catholic Church and President George W. Bush.
Residents of the city that is home to tens of thousands of same-sex couples condemned the Vatican for what they termed its hypocrisy for rallying Catholics to oppose gay marriage and brand
children raised by gay parents as victims of violence.
"These are the same people who condemned Galileo, and marriages between blacks and whites, and birth control," fumed artist and landscape designer Ed Roecker.
"They are making this a morality issue to get people to stop thinking about it as a civil rights issue."
The furious reaction came after Bush said Wednesday he believed that marriage could only be sealed between a man and a woman and suggested that the White House was mulling legislation to enforce
The president also implied that homosexuality was morally wrong when he replied to a question on gay marriage by saying: "I am mindful that we are all sinners."
The next day, the Vatican released a 12-page document calling for Catholics and non-Catholics to unite in opposition to gay marriage and gay adoptions as a "moral duty."
"It is an outrage. I'm really offended," said Kathy Levinson, an intellectual property consultant who is raising two children in Oakland with her female partner.
"I interpreted Bush's remarks to say that homosexuals are
sinners. That is what my children will read."
The issue of gay marriage rights has sharpened since the US
Supreme Court in June overruled a Texas state law banning sodomy,
and following Canada's move to legalize gay marriage.
A case currently being heard in the Massachusetts state Supreme
Court is also testing the issue of gay marriage.
The issue, say San Francisco-area gays, is one of equal civil
rights and protections, not morality.
With the exception of the state of Vermont, gay couples in the
US are denied most of the legal protections and community property
rights that heterosexual couples enjoy automatically.
It means higher taxes in many cases, and that a gay person
doesn't have the right to make medical decisions for a partner who
is hospitalized, says Toni Broaddus, a lawyer with gay rights group
The demand for such rights and protections is clearly strong.
Since California enacted a state domestic partnership law in 2000
to address some of these differences, more than 21,000 gay couples
Yet this still does not amount to marriage, said Broaddus.
The California law is administered by the same office that deals
with business partnerships, and most of the 1,000 rights and
protections automatically accorded a man and woman marrying are
still denied gays.
Moreover, points out lawyer Naomi Fine, Kathy Levinson's
partner, the domestic partnership protections are not honored by
"The fact that we are denied this basic right, a marriage that
is protected by law, seems as preposterous as denying marriage
rights based on skin color," said Fine.
The San Francisco area's gays also expressed dismay that the
issue was being framed as a question of religion and morality.
Many said that the Vatican does not set guidelines for
non-Catholics, and pointed out that a number of religious groups in
the US now embrace homosexual unions.
"At any rate," said Levinson, "We live in a democracy, not a
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