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Monday, April 30, 2012

Ask America’s Highest Profile Cardinal to Support LGBT Youth in Need by Joseph Amodeo

A little over eight years ago, I came out as a gay man to my family and friends and continued to practice my faith as a Roman Catholic. I came to witness the overwhelming support that so many people have for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Despite support for LGBT people from so many Catholics today, I resigned from the Executive Committee of the Junior Board of Catholic Charities two weeks ago.
My resignation was a result of Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York's decision to avoid a request to help young people served by the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency care to homeless LGBT youth. Cardinal Dolan is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and U.S. media often refer to him as "the American Pope." That such a well-known Catholic leader would oppose responding to a request to assist youth represents a deviation from Catholic social teaching.
Since my resignation, the support from Catholic people and other people of faith – gay and straight – has been overwhelming. 
Do you believe we should embrace our young adults and not turn our backs on them for being who they are?
I do. I believe we need to raise our voices and seek a dialogue with the Cardinal on this and other issues affecting the LGBT community. Those sitting in the pews must send a message that leaders in the pulpits need to hear: we stand in solidarity with LGBT youth.
At a time when a 30% to 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, according to a report from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, it is clear that this is an important issue facing all of us concerned with supporting those most in need.
With Vatican insiders and international media outlets speculating that Cardinal Dolan could become the first Pope from America, join me today in calling on Cardinal Dolan and the Archdiocese of New York to meet with leaders from the LGBT community and homeless LGBT youth.
Ask Cardinal Dolan to hear their stories, and collaborate in responding to the epidemic of LGBT youth homelessness. The petition will be delivered to Cardinal Dolan's office on the Feast of the Ascension, Thursday, May 17, 2012 to celebrate the rising support for LGBT people on a day when the Church celebrates Jesus Christ's love for all of us.