What about the Catholics? Prop 8, Bill May & Catholics for the Common Good

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While the Mormons have received the majority of press for their financial support of Proposition 8 (over $20 million), Catholics and the Catholic Church have also played a major role in its passage.

Announced August 12, 2008, Catholics for ProtectMarriage.com was established as the official Catholic grassroots effort dedicated to passing Proposition 8. It’s members include the Knights of Columbus (who donated over 1.4 million in support of Prop 8), the California Catholic Conference and Catholics for the Common Good.

Catholics for the Common Good (CCG) based in Daly City just outside of San Francisco, mobilized local Catholics through prayer, education, fundraising and volunteering to pass Proposition 8. Catholics also played a large role in the passage of Proposition 22 in 2000 which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

CCG is chaired by founder Bill (William) May, a professor of Moral Theology who also serves as a chair for Catholics for Protectmarriage.com. May has also appeared on various media outlets throughout the SF Bay area speaking against Proposition 8.

In an interview with the Catholic Voice in early September 2008, May said, “We’re asking people to volunteer to help in parishes, to participate in telephoning, talking with neighbors. This is a really important issue. Marriage is the foundation of the family. People are very upset that the Supreme Court overruled the will of the people.”

Also in September, May sent out a plea to Catholics urging them to make sacrifices and re-order priorities, recruit volunteers and acquire and distribute yard signs.

May appears in the television clips below.

In addition to supporting traditional over same-sex marriage, May also rejected adoption by same-sex couples in 2006, then performed by Catholic Charities of San Francisco. May cited an official Vatican document that stated “Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.” and are “Gravely immoral.”

May and the CCG are also enthusiastic supporters of Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco, who was accused by the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) for protecting pedophile priests in the San Francisco Archdiocese, by refusing to post names of priests who were accused of sex abuse. Levada also opposed domestic partnerships in San Francisco back in 1997 as an attack on the sacrament of marriage. Levada now serves in Rome leading the Vatican’s investigation of hundreds of ordained clergymen suspended from public ministry amid allegations they had sexually abused children. May has also personally praised Levada for speaking out against gay marriage.

May spoke at length recently with in an interview with the Catholic Business Journal about Proposition 8, describing it as the most important vote in California history.

“At this point we are beyond tolerance and acceptance, and we are now facing compliance and obedience to a new standard of marriage, of the human person. People have been tolerant and accepting as a culture – but this law, this court decision, has changed the standard and created a new one… Catholics and others who understand the meaning and nature of marriage will be counter-cultural and seen as discriminatory or bigoted. It opens the way for lawsuits and challenges to tax exemption.

“The stakes are high. We are battling for the survival of the family as we know it, as God established it… Proposition 8, the Marriage Protection Act, is the most important thing that has ever been on the ballot in California history! People around the world are watching carefully.”

It’s clear now that the strong push by Catholics of ProtectMarriage.com and other Catholics groups were ultimately successful. In a field poll one week prior to the election, Catholics accounted for 24% of the electorate, voting 44% Yes on 8. Exit polls on election day showed Catholics accounting for 30% of the electorate and 64% voting Yes on 8, an increase of 20%.

Assuming the projections in the exit polls hold across the entire voting population, of the 10.3 million Californians who voted, approximate 3 million were Catholic, and nearly 2 million of those voted Yes on Proposition 8. That’s a 1 million voter difference in the final week prior to election day.

By comparison, in CNN exit polls African Americans accounted for 1 million of the Californian voting electorate, 70% voting Yes, or seven hundred thousand voters.

Many believe the high voter turnout of African Americans led to the passage of Proposition 8. What about the Catholics?

Post by ILO on 11/09/08 at 10:44 am