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|Pillar: Family, Freedom
1500 Rally for Marriage in San Francisco
More than 1,500 Catholics marched and prayed through the streets of San Francisco Saturday, calling for a federal marriage amendment. It was the first public challenge by San Francisco area residents to powerful gay interest groups.
"The focus of a world that wants to protect marriage is on San Francisco today and we are sending a message that marriage between a man and a woman is the future," Meehan said. "Marriage and mothers and fathers are fundamental to the building block of our society – the family. Gays and lesbians can live as they chose, but they don't have a right to redefine marriage."
"Your presence here today in San Francisco, not in opposition to homosexuals, but in support of marriage is a laudable example of courage-- to take a stand for something important to your future and that of your children," Flynn said. "You are a community that is respected for its commitment to social justice." He also added, "You cannot rely on politicians to provide moral leadership. You must take the initiative to lead; that's your job."
About a dozen counter-demonstrators tried to shout out Flynn's speech, but members of the crowd ignored the minor disruption throughout the rally and then during a five-block processional during which Catholics prayed the new Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. They were led in prayer and song by cantor and YCV volunteer Frances Peterson, who noted that appropriately the Luminous Mysteries reflect Jesus' public life.
"Perhaps some of you came with a certain desperation or anxiety," the bishop said. "Do not be afraid because God is God."
Later at the rally, San Francisco Archbishop William Levada spoke. "We need to speak out with civility," he said. Levada noted that San Franciscans live side by side with homosexuals: have family, friends, colleagues and neighbors who are gay.
"Marriage between a man and a woman originates in creation and is the foundation of the family, procreation and the nurturing of children. We join in prayer today for the preservation of this age-old tradition of marriage, while we also pray for all of our brothers and sisters."
Levada urged passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment to protect marriage as only between one man and one woman, which he indicated is strongly supported by the U.S. Conference of Bishops.
Levada was the lone voice to dissent from S.F. Mayor Gavin Newsom's unilateral Feb. 12th decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of state and federal law. The California Supreme Court halted the practice March 11, pending its ruling. Newsom's action came on the heels of the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision that same-gender couples are entitled to marry.
"Members of Your Catholic Voice organized the rally with the support of Sts. Peter and Paul pastor Rev. John Malloy to show that Catholics support the archbishop and his courageous stand for truth," Meehan said.
The event began at 8 p.m. on April 2 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church with an all-night Eucharistic Adoration. It was a moving and solemn occasion, which was well attended through the night. It was good spiritual preparation for the activities that unfolded the next day.
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