#Bestof2015: HRC Calls On Pope Francis to Welcome LGBT Faithful to the Church
Ahead of Pope Francis’ historic visit to the U.S. this year, HRC worked closely with members of the LGBT and allied Catholic community to call on the pontiff to embrace the LGBT faithful.
HRC shared the stories of several teachers and staff fired from Catholic institutions because of whom they love. For example, Margie Winters, a highly-praised Philadelphia-area teacher, was fired from a Catholic school after a parent complained of Margie’s marriage to a woman. Margie and her wife, as well as a student and parent who were among those who rallied to the teacher’s defense, were featured in a moving video from HRC.
HRC released exclusive polling data that underscores the fact that Catholic voters in the U.S. are more supportive of LGBT equality than the nation’s voters as a whole. Two HRC- commissioned polls conducted this year show U.S. Catholic laity markedly ahead of their fellow Americans on LGBT issues, including marriage equality and employment non-discrimination protections.
Later in 2015, HRC welcomed the Pope to Washington, D.C. with a plea to bridge the gap between acceptance in the pews and rejection by bishops. HRC featured a banner on its building and welcomed all LGBT Catholics to join us, lifting up their voices and asking to be welcomed back into the Church community.
The banner read: “We are your children, your teachers, your faithful. Welcomed by God, Dismissed by our Bishops. Pope Francis, will you welcome us home?”
At the beginning of the Synod on the Family, HRC joined LGBT Catholics and their allies as a founding member of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics in Rome, Italy. Working with our global partners, we hope to create a more inclusive global church.
Far too many Catholics are rejected from their churches, their homes and even secular employment simply because they are LGBT or because they believe in equality. As we begin a new year, we seek to empower and elevate the voices of lay Catholics – LGBT and our allies – whose significant support of equality stands in stark contrast to the U.S. hierarchy's anti-LGBT actions.
To learn more about HRC's Catholic initiatives, visit hrc.org/Catholic. HRC Foundation's guide "Coming Home: To Catholicism and to Self" is aimed at LGBTQ American Catholics who hope to lead their faith communities toward a more welcoming stance, and those seeking a path back to their beloved tradition.
Counting down to 2016, HRC is celebrating our greatest milestones and victories in 2015. It has been another incredible year for LGBT equality and we could not have done it without you -- our members, readers and supporters--and we look forward to continuing our work in 2016. Stay tuned for more highlights from 2015.