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Catholic Activist Wants Gay Bloggers Banned from Dem Convention

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday August 19, 2008

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is seeking to bar gay bloggers from the Democratic Convention.

A press release from the Catholic organization says that Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, threatened that unless the CEO of the convention, Leah Daughtry, were to rescind credentials for gay Web site Towleroad as well as Bitch Ph.D., it would "send... a message to Catholics they will not forget."

Donohue objected to those sites specifically because, the release quoted him, "On the home page of Bitch Ph.D. there is a picture of two children: one of them is shown flashing his middle finger. Today's lead post, which was written August 17, is called 'Jesus Christ.' It begins with, 'I'm a really crappy Catholic who hasn't been to mass in ages because most parishes around here 'will' insist on being aggressively anti-abortion....'"

Donohue was quoted as saying of Towleroad, a site that publishes news and other items of interest to the gay community, that it "describes itself as 'A Site with Homosexual Tendencies.'"

Continued Donohue, "Accordingly, it shows men in jock straps and underwear. It also has a post on Pope Benedict XVI that takes him to task for wearing a cape with ermine."

Donohue said that readers responding to stories carried by both sites posted "obscene" commentary.

The release further quoted Donohue as saying, "Both of these blogs should be cut immediately from the list of credentialed sites."

Claimed Donohue, "Neither functions as a responsible media outlet and both offend Catholics, as well as others. To allow them access to the Democratic National Convention sends a message to Catholics they will not forget."

Added Donohue, "We look for Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Convention, to nix them ASAP."

At his blog The Gist, Michael Signorile posted an Aug. 19 story titled Bill Donohue's Obsession With Gay Sex (And My Butt.

In the article, Signorile noted that Towleroad blogger "Andy Towle has been baptized with a dunk in Catholic League head Bill Donohue's putrid vat of rhetoric," and added, "I just want to say: Welcome to the club!"

Wrote Signorile, "It took me back to when Donohue became obsessed with my ass cheeks a few years ago, to the point where he issued an alert about them."

Later in the article, Signorile recounted that in 2001, he had questioned whether anti-gay rhetoric from the Vatican might not be emboldening anti-gay attacks in the streets.

Signorile wrote, "I observed that the church's claim that homosexuality is 'intrinsically disordered' had done much to empower those bashers, and Donohue lashed out. He had actually been sending me nasty emails prior to that, obsessed with my syndicated column in New York Press at the time. But finally, I warranted an alert."

Continued Signorile, "[I]n his attack on me in his alert from the Catholic League, [Donohue] made sexual remarks that surely many good Catholics (like my mom) would see as profane," and then quoted Donohue from the alert bulletin in question.

In that 2001 alert, Signorile reported, Donohue said, "We're disappointed with Mich: we never thought that anyone who has had as much practice as he has in turning the other cheek would ever write such an intrinsically disordered article."

Towleroad carried an article on Aug. 18 about the Catholic League president's demands that select members of the press be denied access to the Democratic Convention.

Said the article, "Bill Donohue's Catholic League, unfortunately, is a right wing radical religious group masked as an advocate with no business meddling in the machinations of U.S. politics. Most Americans believe that the separation of church and state makes America strong."

Added the Towleroad article, "Once again using the shameful tactic long used by right wing groups to link LGBT subject matter solely with sex, Donohue states: 'Towleroad describes itself as "A Site with Homosexual Tendencies." Accordingly, it shows men in jock straps and underwear...'

"In contrast," adds the Towleroad article, "the Pope has deemed homosexuality an 'intrinsic moral evil' and as recently as New Year's Day ranked same-sex marriage with nuclear arms proliferation, environmental pollution, economic inequality, abortion, and birth control as threats to world peace."

Continued Towleroad, "Yet we would never suggest that Catholics not be able to attend the Convention."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.