The leadership of the Catholic Church - in contrast to the majority of the laity - opposes equal rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.
On this weekend before Valentine's Day - a day that the Church and many others celebrate romantic relationships - we are emphasizing that celebrations of love between consenting adults should not subject to discrimination and hate.
While a majority of lay Catholics - even more so than people in society at large - support equal rights for LGBT people, including the equal right to marry, Cardinal George and others in the leadership of the Church continue to promote the idea that our relationships are deserving of scorn and discrimination.
Worse, Cardinal George has been in the leadership of those opposing legal equality for LGBT people:
** He has opposed every advance for LGBT rights in Chicago, in Cook County, and across the state, including an LGBT-friendly charter school, civil unions for same-sex couples, and equal employment, housing and access to public accommodations legislation.
** He and other Catholic bishops circulated petitions in a failed effort to force an advisory referendum banning equal marriage rights for same sex couples.
** As head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, he spent tens of thousands backing the anti-gay referendums Proposition 8 in California and Question 1 in Maine.
With this week's victory over California's Proposition 8 and next week's likely passage of marriage equality legislation in the State of Washington, there is now a serious push towards full marriage equality here in the Land of Lincoln.
As equal marriage rights legislation moves forward in Springfield this year, we fully expect that Cardinal George will again align himself with those promoting anti-gay discrimination. And with discrimination comes hate, like night follows day, no matter what carefully-worded PR that George puts out.
As a cover for this bigotry, George will try to play the victim role, falsely stating that equal marriage legislation in Illinois would somehow force the Catholic Church to celebrate marriages it chooses not to.
But we will not be fooled. Promoting legal inequality for a whole group of people, in this case LGBT people, is discrimination. And promoting discrimination is bigotry, no matter how you spin it.
We will not sit back and take it - as Californians fatefully did with the Mormon Church before the passage of Proposition 8. We will proactively push back against the bigotry of the leadership of the Catholic Church, while aligning ourselves with the majority in the pews who are opposed to discrimination.
Gay Liberation Network
More Freedom to Marry Day 2012 Pictures: