Hong Kong activists disrupt Catholic mass
August 18 2003 11:00 PM ET
Hong Kong's Roman Catholic Church denounced gay rights protesters Monday for disrupting a mass and complained of a slow police response. "Catholics have long respected the freedom of speech, but we vehemently object to such cruel action infringing the rights of our followers," the Hong Kong diocese said in a statement. On Sunday, eight activists struggled with church officials as six of them
shouted at worshipers for about 10 minutes during a mass at the Hong Kong Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Two female demonstrators also kissed inside the church. Police said in a statement late Monday that they had contacted a cathedral official and promised to investigate whether any laws had been broken. No arrests were made after Sunday's protest.
The activists condemned Hong Kong's Roman Catholic bishop Joseph Zen over two recent articles published in a church newsletter opposing same-sex marriage. They have demanded a public apology. The Hong Kong government does not legally recognize same-sex marriage and has said there's no need to change the law. "It was only a brief disruption, but the Catholic officials are supporting a stance that trespasses our rights every moment, every day," said protest organizer Noel Chen.