Pope Benedict XVI
It’s been revealed that the Roman Catholic Church spent $2 million, double previous estimates, to fund campaigns against marriage equality in the four marriage referenda in the US states of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington.
The church’s efforts were unsuccessful as the popular vote in all four states went in favour of same-sex marriage.
The figures were included in an updated Human Rights Campaign (HRC) report that offers a snapshot of just how much money the Church, along with its close ally the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), poured into the anti-gay campaigns.
“The American people went to the polls and affirmed one of the core values of the Roman Catholic Church: the belief that all humans are worthy of dignity, respect, and love,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“The Church and NOM can continue pouring money into discriminating against LGBT people, but the writing is on the wall for their anti-equality agenda. The Roman Catholic hierarchy should be focusing on taking actions that actually improve people’s lives, not spending precious resources on spreading malicious lies aimed at tearing down an entire community of people,” said Griffin.
In Minnesota, the Roman Catholic Church spent upwards of $1.3 million, funding nearly 25 percent of the failed attempts to write discrimination into the state’s constitution. The Church’s funding included hundreds of thousands of dollars from dioceses across the country.
The report also highlights the Roman Catholic Church’s donations to states where voters affirmed marriage equality – more than $100,000 in Maine; well over a quarter-million dollars in Maryland; and $307,000 in Washington.
HRC said that much of this funding likely came without the knowledge of parishioners. It added that “as diocesan schools and important programs like soup kitchens and domestic violence initiatives struggle for resources, the Roman Catholic Church has instead chosen to fund hateful, misleading political campaigns targeting loving, committed couples”.
A 2012 Public Religion Research Institute poll found that nearly 60 percent of US Catholics support marriage equality.