Today in D.C., San Francisco's Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone took part in a march organized by the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay group that does everything in its rhetorical power to pretend that it is not a hate group, and that it is simply a pro-straight-marriage group. S.F. civic leaders tried to sway our conservative archbishop from attending this rally, but he went anyway, and below we've excerpted the text of what he said, for those who care and who want to parse the rhetorical tricks he used to keep from sounding backwards and anachronistic in his views.

The crux of Cordileone's speech is that the gay-marriage fight can be compared to abortion, and opponents shouldn't be discouraged by various recent polls and court rulings, because just look at abortion: Some ardent, faithful souls are still fighting that good fight 40 years later. (Ugh.)

In related news, facing a 47-percent decline in Catholic marriages in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Cordileone's camp is encouraging one church to start offering weddings, with receptions, free of charge. St. Thomas More Church, near S.F. State, is launching “Project Operation I Do,” allowing people to get married there for free, along with a "modest reception." Perhaps if the Catholics weren't so far behind the times, they wouldn't have to resort to this kind of groveling for parishioners. Maybe they should throw in two-for-one christening deal?

Anyway, here's Cordileone's speech, in part:

Every child comes from a man and a woman, and has a right, a natural human right, to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their own mother and father. This is the great public good that marriage is oriented towards and protects. The question is then: does society need an institution that unites children to the mothers and fathers who bring them into the world, or doesn't it? If it does, that institution is marriage — nothing else provides this basic good to children.
Yes, this is a foundational truth, and one to which we must witness by lives lived in conformity to it, and which we must proclaim with love. Love for those millions of loving single mothers and fathers who struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives and succeed in creating loving homes for their children — they need and deserve our love, affirmation and support...
And let us not forget: we must also proclaim this truth especially with love for those who disagree with us on this issue, and most of all, for those who are hostile toward us. We must be careful, though, not to paint our opponents on this issue with broad strokes. There is a tendency in our culture to do this to groups of people the powerful don’t know and think they don’t like. We must not do that. We must recognize that there are people on the other side of this debate who are of good will and are sincerely trying to promote what they think is right and fair. It is misdirected good will. But even those from whom we suffer retribution — and I know some of you have suffered in very serious ways because of your stand for marriage — still, we must love them... We must not allow the angry rhetoric to co-opt us into a culture of hate.
...Those with temporal power over us might choose to change the definition of marriage in the law even against all that we have accomplished through very generous participation in the democratic process, but our nature does not change. If the law does not correspond to our nature, such that there is a conflict between the law and nature, guess which will prevail? And people will figure it out.
We can take heart from what we see happening now in the pro-life movement. Back in the early 1970’s, just before the Court issued its infamous Roe vs. Wade ruling, public support for abortion was growing rapidly. And as with marriage redefinition today, a generation gap opened up in the polls, leading many to predict that opposition to abortion would literally die off. That was the future; before long, it would not even be an issue. Instead, something unexpected happened. A relatively small band of faithful believers held the line on the sanctity of human life in the womb, and today, two generations later, the pro-life movement is flourishing like never before. We now have the most pro-life generation of young adults since the infamous Roe decision. People have figured out that it is a human life that is within the mother’s womb, and that abortion, yes, really does harm women; they’ve figured out that it’s good to cherish that human life and surround the mother with love and support so a truly happy choice can be made, the choice for life.
People, too, will figure out that a child comes from a father and a mother, and it’s good for the child to be connected to his or her father and mother. These truths may seem obvious to us, but they aren’t to everyone while in the heat of controversy. ... This noble cause is a call to love we cannot abandon, that we will not give up on, and that in the end we know will triumph.

I wonder how many of the people at this rally are intolerant of Catholics, too.

Update: Looks like the crowd was pretty sparse! [Queerty]

[SF Archdiocese]