Press

NGLTF: Stop Scapegoating Gay Priests; Catholic Cover-Up 'Appalling'

Date: 
April 17, 2002

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today released the following statement about the ongoing controversy on the sexual abuse of children, including that by Roman Catholic priests.

The following statement is attributable to Lorri L. Jean, executive director of NGLTF.

"The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force deplores all sexual abuse of children, including that by Roman Catholic priests. Children who have been victimized deserve a swift, appropriate and supportive response, and steps must be taken by impacted institutions to protect children from further abuse. We urge the Catholic Church to respond appropriately and immediately to put the interests of children first.

"The system-wide cover-up by the Roman Catholic hierarchy is appalling, as are efforts to shift attention from the true nature of this child sexual abuse scandal by scapegoating homosexuality and gay priests. Homosexuality is not the problem. Child abuse is the problem. It is well established that more than 95 percent of the perpetrators of child sexual abuse are heterosexual men. Child sexual abuse by anyone is wrong.

"Catholics across this country are challenging the doctrine of the Catholic Church in many ways, including how it pertains to homosexuality, divorce, celibacy and the priesthood, birth control, the right to choose and the ordination of women. We encourage the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the U.S. and the Vatican to examine all of these issues and to end outdated, discriminatory and oppressive policies."

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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.