Gay Catholic funeral Mass: yes or no?Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest
Recently retired, Catholic Bishop Robert Brom of the San Diego diocese did not like or care for GLBT Catholics and his record speaks for itself. When we called on Bishop Brom in the early 1980s, to say a Mass for Catholics dying of AIDS, he refused until then State Assemblyman Pete Chacon informed him that I was going to organize a picket at his Christmas Eve Mass. Bishop Brom himself, called prominent Catholic businessmen to contribute to the “Yes on 8” campaign.
But what he will be most remembered for is for refusing a Catholic funeral Mass for the young gay Catholic owner of the then Club Montage nightclub. It was only the national headlines and outrage that changed his mind.
But then it happened a few years later, when a Catholic priest at a Little Italy church did not want to say a funeral Mass for the owner of the SRO Lounge. So we organized a GLBT Catholic protest in front of the church, and once again the media attention resulted in the granting of a Mass.
Well recently, a somewhat closeted Catholic friend of mine’s partner died and another priest wasn’t sure if he really wanted to say a Catholic Mass for an “active homosexual”.
Bishop Brom is gone, and now we have a new Bishop Cirilo Flores who, word is, is like our new Pope Francis and hopefully more loving of all his flock and not so judgmental. I believe it’s time we GLBT Catholics in San Diego called upon Bishop Flores to set down a policy in the diocese that no GLBT Catholic again will be refused a proper funeral Mass.
That this almost happened again for a third time is very disturbing.
San Diego Pride 1974-2014
How indeed times have changed, from fighting the police dept. on issuing us a parade permit in 1974 to this year marching with Mayor Kevin Faulconer and our first lady Katherine in this year’s parade.
From about 200 of us marching in 1974, to over a quarter of a million expected at our 40th anniversary of Pride.
I had the honor of speaking at our first Pride rally, and once again at Friday’s Stonewall rally. Did you know that people in 28 states and eight countries have already bought Pride festival tickets online? For me personally, this will be a most emotional weekend as I will remember the hundreds of friends and fellow activists we have lost these last four decades.
I march this year in their memory.
Why I support Carl DeMaio for Congress
When Carl DeMaio was just 15 his mother died of cancer, and two weeks before that his father left and abandoned him and his two siblings. They were split up and the Jesuits took Carl in and gave him an education. Carl arrived with just $36 and a duffle bag.
From that difficult childhood, Carl DeMaio grew up and started two successful businesses. (All this before he turned 30.) At the age of 25, Carl came out to his siblings and publicly came out of the closet in San Diego at the age of 33 when he made history as San Diego’s first elected openly gay councilman.
Unlike most elected GLBT officials, Carl DeMaio does not come from a gay activist background, but a solid successful business background. He has been with his life partner, Johnathan Hale (President of the Hillcrest Business Association), for over five years and is of course pro-marriage equality and pro-choice as well as a pro-environmentalist.
Now Carl DeMaio is running for Congress in a district that has a slightly higher Republican voter registration and his opponent, Scott Peters, is also a good man and a friend of our community.
There are over 400 members of Congress, and Carl DeMaio would make history again by being the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress and would be a strong, articulate and visible voice for change in his party.
When on the City Council, Carl DeMaio had a 100 percent voting record when it came to GLBT equality issues. He will continue that record in Congress and will become a national leader for a new generation of Republicans.
Yes, Carl is not and will never be a gay activist, but after watching him stand up against ugly, nasty and negative attacks by radical right wing organizations during the primary, I know he will do so again in Congress.
Both Carl and his opponent do not possess sparkling personalities, and this will indeed be a most negative general election campaign ‘til November. And yes, I disagree with Carl on different issues but I firmly believe Carl’s historic election will be most important to our community, his party and, yes, for our nation. That’s why I support Carl DeMaio for Congress.
People, politics and opinions
Rumors are all over town that this may be our super Congresswoman Susan Davis’ (love her) last race, and if so are both Todd Gloria and Toni Atkins looking at this race in 2016? Chris Ward continues to remain and strengthen his frontrunner status to succeed Gloria on the City Council, but Anthony Bernal says he is still in it to win it.
Global gay activist Stuart Milk will be in San Diego Aug. 15 … look for a community forum announcement.
Our own Susan Jester (founder AIDS Walk), just got a federal advisory board appointment to the United States Civil Rights Commission. She also is the new GLBT chair for the Kashkari for Governor Campaign. (I am 100 percent for the re-election of Gov. Brown.)
Look for a major and exciting announcement coming soon from the Human Dignity Foundation of San Diego.
School Board President Kevin Beiser’s recent 68 percent vote win in the primary election is the biggest vote win in the history of the school board.
Our popular mayor, Kevin Faulconer has appointed Bill Kelly chair of the City’s Senior Advisory Board and Attorney Bruce Abrams the chair of the City’s International Affairs Commission. (Both respected gay leaders.)
Don’t forget our GLBT fundraiser for the immigrant children relocated here in San Diego, July 25 at Saigon on Fifth. For more information: 619-692-7967.
Former San Diego resident Russell Roybal (deputy director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force) will be in town for Pride this weekend.
Tickets are already going fast for the 39th annual Nicky Awards (“the gay academy awards of San Diego”), set for Aug. 24 at our new fabulous downtown library. More information: 619-300-1232.
Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for more than 45 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last seven mayors of San Diego. He is also a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council of the USA, Canada and Mexico. In 2013 Murray Ramirez was named “Mayor of Hillcrest” by a City proclamation. Nicolemrsandiego@aol.com
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