Press

Task Force leader responds to Catholic bishops

Date: 
October 19, 2006

Task Force leader responds to the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' proposed new guidelines, Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination

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Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 — The Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops today released proposed guidelines titled Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination. The proposed guidelines will be discussed and likely put to a vote when the Conference of Bishops meets Nov. 13–16 in Baltimore.

Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“There’s plenty to be offended by in the new Catholic Church guidelines titled Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination, but a few things stand out. First, the bishops tried to sound more compassionate by writing that even though the Catholic Church believes ‘the homosexual orientation is objectively disordered,’ that doesn’t mean ‘the person as a whole is disordered.’ However, they also stated that ‘other inclinations can likewise be disordered, such as those that lead to envy, malice or greed.’ Sorry, but it’s still an insult to compare an orientation that leads to love to ‘inclinations’ that lead to harm.

“Second, the guidelines state that ‘no scientific consensus has been reached regarding the effectiveness of various therapies’ to change one’s sexual orientation. The authors probably saw this as a major concession to science. However, all medical and mental health professional associations do have consensus in warning of the dangers of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ programs. No scientific studies have found these programs to be effective. To the contrary, a growing body of research shows that they can cause profound psychological damage.

“Third, the guidelines say the Church should take action to keep people who experience same-sex attraction from falling ‘into the lifestyles and values of a gay subculture.' Much of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is working to protect our families, to be protected from discrimination and violence, and to have the freedom to serve in the U.S. military. So much for the ‘immoral lifestyles’ we are supposedly creating.”

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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.