Today, HRC released an open letter addressed to His Holiness Pope Francis asking that Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the current Apostolic Nuncio, withdraw from his speaking role at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)’s “Marriage for Marriage.”
The March, to be held this Saturday, April 25, will feature some of the most virulently anti-LGBT voices in an effort to convince the Supreme Court to rule against marriage equality in its deliberations this summer. The Apostolic Nuncio leads the Holy See’s diplomatic mission to the United States.
“There is absolutely no room for an emissary of one of the world’s great religions at an event that will espouse hate and bigotry and promote outright discrimination against LGBT Americans and their families,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz. “Pope Francis has continually emphasized love and acceptance in his tenure, but this event stands for anything but.”
In the letter, HRC President Chad Griffin says that speaking at the event flies in the face of the Church’s own words on LGBT people. He writes, “Imagine if the United States ambassador to the Vatican took part in a rally in support of reproductive rights in St. Peter’s Square. The role of an ambassador such as Archbishop Viganò or our own ambassador to the Vatican is to represent diplomatic interests, not further politicize differences. ”
NOM has a long history of giving voice to hate. In its fight against equality, the organization has used racially motivated tactics as strategy, committed numerous campaign ethics violations, and promoted speakers and pundits who accuse LGBT people of child endangerment and abuse and compare marriage equality to Hitler’s Third Reich.