Philly Mayor Talks Gay Rights Before Pope’s Speech

News: Investigations
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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  •  September 28, 2015   

"[G]iven the opportunity to advance these issues on an international stage, I will certainly seize the opportunity"

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PHILADELPHIA, September 28, 2015 ( - An honorary co-chair of the World Meeting of Families pushed for gay rights just before the Pope gave a speech at Philadelphia's Independence Hall Sunday.

Mayor Michael Nutter — who has boasted that Philadelphia "has enacted the strongest civil rights law and protections for LGBT citizens of any city in the country and was recognized by the Human Rights Campaign in 2014 as the number one city for LGBT equality" — was named honorary co-chair of the World Meeting of Families by Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput.

Saturday, before the Pope took to the podium to talk about religious liberty, Nutter said:

In America, everyone has rights. Our lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens continue to fight for equality. Keep fighting for your rights. It's a collective fight, and there are many others fighting with you.

He also praised former Philadelphia councilman John C. Anderson as an inspiration — an openly gay man whose re-election campaign Nutter ran, and who died of AIDS. A gay-friendly apartment complex in Philadelphia — John C. Anderson Apartments — bears his name. 

The Internet has since lit up with complaints from faithful Catholics over Nutter's scandalous remarks.

In spite of strong criticisms from Catholic faithful, Abp. Chaput has defended the choice of Nutter — as well as that of other pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage members of the World Meeting of Families executive cabinet, including Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf, also named honorary co-chair. Wolf is the nation's first governor who was formerly a Planned Parenthood abortion mill escort. In July Wolf appointed Planned Parenthood board member Mary Isenhour to be his chief of staff. Sari Stevens, former executive director of Planned Parenthood Southeast Pennsylvania, is also on Wolf's staff.

Before Nutter became mayor of Philadelphia, while a member of City Council, he drafted bills creating the Life Partnership Program for gay couples. And as mayor, he founded Philadelphia's first Office of LGBT Affairs, as well as taking on the role of national co-chair of Mayors for Marriage Equality, an initiative of the gay activist group Freedom to Marry. He's also signed legislation promoting gay rights, including passing the nation's first law providing the Equality Tax Credit to employers who provide health benefits to homosexuals.

In a statement issued September 21, Nutter said he would raise the question of gay rights with Pope Francis in a private meeting. "For 30 years I have stood as an advocate and ally with and for our LGBT communities, and if given the opportunity to advance these issues on an international stage, I will certainly seize the opportunity." It's unclear whether the private meeting ever took place.

Please write Abp. Charles Chaput: 


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