Gay Catholics stage walkout in Boston

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 03 2003 12:00 AM ET

Gay and lesbian congregants walked out of mass in Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sunday after bishops issued a reminder to parishioners that the Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage. The congregants, who support equal marriage rights, say whether to allow gay and lesbian couples the legal benefits of marriage is a matter for the courts and the legislature, not the church. They also point out that revelations that the archdiocese of Boston shuttled sexually abusive priests from parish to parish have stripped the church of the moral authority to question equal marriage rights. "The church has to clean up its own house before it sets foot in mine," said Mark Murphy, 25, of Somerville, who walked out of church with partner Carl Sciortino, 24.

During the homily at Holy Cross, Monsignor William H. Roche asked parishioners to read a marriage statement printed in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Pilot, and explained why the church opposes same-sex marriages. In the statement the four bishops of Massachusetts have called for action on same-sex marriage at a moment when the issue is pending in both the state's highest court and the legislature. The state's supreme court is considering whether the state constitution allows gay people to marry each other, while the legislature is expected to consider a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being solely between a man and a woman.

At the mention of the statement, about a dozen people, mostly men, stood up and faced the back of the church. Most of them then walked out of the church, with three men walking out at the end of the homily.