NGLTF Cites Mixed Message In Bishops’ Letter

October 01, 1997

Homosexual behavior still considered 'immoral'

In a pastoral letter to American Catholics, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops yesterday urged parents of homosexual children to accept their childrens' sexual orientation. The statement, a self-described "out-stretched hand," still condemned sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage.

In the message entitled "Always Our Children," the Bishops stress that the Church's teachings on human dignity and respect be extended to all regardless of their sexual orientation. It provided suggestions for parents coming to terms with their children's sexual orientation and integrating it with their religious beliefs.

The statement, however, makes a clear separation between sexual orientation and sexual behavior. While condemning discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, the statement reasserts the Church's belief that homosexual behavior is "objectively immoral. " It reiterates that sexual relations are exclusively reserved for a married man and woman for the purpose of creating a new human life.

The following statement is attributable to Kerry Lobel, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

"I welcome the open acknowledgement by the Bishops that a person's sexual orientation should not be the basis of discrimination or injustice. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people face discrimination every day, despite eleven states having outlawed such activity. I hope this open discussion within the Catholic Church will ease the pain of young people coming to grips with their sexual orientation. I reject their notion, however, that our behavior is immoral. We call on the Church to end its mixed message and recognize and affirm the loving relationships we have which cannot be separated from sexual expression."


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.