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Posted May 27, 2010
More Than 5,000 Members Call on Cardinal Sean O'Malley to Allow Children of Same-Sex Couples to Attend Catholic School
On Wednesday, May 26th, Boston-area members of the social justice group Catholics United delivered more than 5,000 petition signatures to the Archdiocese of Boston asking Cardinal Sean O'Malley not to allow discrimination in his Catholic schools on the basis of the lifestyles of students' parents. The move comes some two weeks after St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham, Massachusetts denied admission to an 8-year-old boy because his parents are in a same-sex relationship.
The archdiocese initially signaled strong opposition to such discrimination and promised to craft a policy to preempt future controversy. Recent statements from Cardinal O'Malley and other archdiocesan officials, however, appeared more supportive of the school's admissions decision.
Catholics United members Joe Betz, Phil George, and Larry Kessler delivered the signatures - most of which were collected within three days of the incident - to the archdiocesan offices in Braintree Wednesday afternoon. They expressed members' concerns to an archdiocesan canon lawyer, who agreed to present the petition to Cardnal O'Malley on their behalf.
"We want Cardinal O'Malley to know that many Catholics believe all children are worthy of a Catholic education," said Betz, who resides in Jamaica Plain. "It's not right to deny a young person these benefits because the Church does not recognize his parents' relationship."
Supporters of St. Paul's decision have argued that discrimination is necessary in order to protect children from confusion. Many of these voices reacted positively to a similar case in Boulder, Colorado earlier this year, in which a child of lesbian parents was was not allowed to re-enroll in a diocesan school. In that incident, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, an outspoken conservative known for his controversial political statements, supported the school's decision.
"Catholic schools have a longstanding tradition of accepting all children, including those of non-Christian parents and those whose parents' lifestyles conflict with Church teachings in other ways," said George, who resides in Allston. "We fear that discrimination against children of same-sex couples creates the appearance that it's more important to score political points than allow equal access to a Catholic education."
Catholics United will continue to circulate its petition until the archdiocese adopts a clear non-discrimination policy for its Catholic schools.
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