Antigay video at Catholic Mass riles gay man
March 30 2004 1:00 AM ET
A gay man interrupted a church Mass on Sunday when he told congregants he objected to a video opposing same-sex marriage that had been shown moments earlier. Chuck Colbert created a brief disturbance when he stood up after presentation of the eight-minute video, identified himself as a Catholic, and said he objected to the video, according to the Reverend Michael Doyle of St. John the Evangelist Church in Canton, Mass. "We called police to maintain order," Doyle said. "We had no interest in pressing charges against anyone." Canton police said they went to the church but made no arrests.
The video was shown during the 9 a.m. Mass, and Doyle decided not to show it during the 11:30 a.m. service. The video was shown a day before the Massachusetts legislature renewed debate on a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage. In the video a female voice, played over various images, urges listeners to contact lawmakers to urge them to vote against gay marriage and civil unions. It says civil unions "discriminate against the poor and needy" and will hurt the economy by paying out Social Security survivor benefits. "I just found it to be such a scurrilous, scandalous piece of misinformation," Colbert said. "For me to sit there and take it is out of the question." Colbert is a freelance writer who contributes stories to the National Catholic Reporter, an independent weekly newspaper that has endorsed same-sex marriage. "My life is very similar to the people in there," Colbert told New England Cable News outside the church. "I want to be married, I have a wonderful
partner, we're building a life together--it in no way threatens anyone else."
Archdiocese spokesman the Reverend Christopher Coyne said it was appropriate to show the video and said only Colbert objected. "He's not even a member of that parish," he said. "He doesn't even worship in Canton. He was obviously alerted and decided to disrupt that Mass." Colbert acknowledged he was alerted about the video but that he's free to attend any Mass. "I wanted to see how it was presented," he said. "I've never seen anything like that." Doyle said the video was supplied by the Massachusetts Catholic Conference.