Petition With 30,000 Signatures Urges San Francisco Archbishop to Skip Anti-Gay Rally

A petition containing 30,000 signatures urging the San Francisco archbishop to reconsider participating in an anti-gay rally was delivered to the archdiocese office on Tuesday.

The petition comes a day after Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said it's his duty to proclaim "the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife,'' even when those views are unpopular.

"We're not asking him to totally change his mind," Rev. Dawn Roginski said. "We're just asking that perhaps he would not attend a group that was really hateful."

A coalition of liberal politicians, fellow clergy and gay-rights leaders previously urged Cordileone to skip Thursday's March for Marriage event in Washington, D.C.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi have sent letters urging Cordileone to skip Thursday's rally.

The archbishop in a written response to the letters he has received wrote, "I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you, not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other."

Cordileone, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' subcommittee on the promotion and defense of marriage, is a scheduled speaker at the march and rally sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage and other groups opposed to same-sex marriage.

The archbishop in his response also said Thursday's rally is not anti anything, calling the event pro-marriage.

Meanwhile, employees at the San Francisco Archdiocese office on Tuesday locked the front doors and refused to accept the petitions.

Petition organizers ended up pushing the petitions through closed doors.

An archdiocese spokeswoman eventually agreed to meet with petitioners and said the archbishop feels it's his duty to speak in support of traditional marriage.

"The archbishop wants to share the teachings of the Catholic faith in the public arena, said Christine Mugridge, San Francisco Archdiocese spokeswoman. "And he's been invited to Washington, D.C. to do that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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