Bishop defunds Portland homeless charity for opposing gay marriage repeal

Via the Press Herald:

A social service agency’s support for same-sex marriage has cost it local and national funding from the Catholic Church’s anti-poverty program. Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice program has lost $17,400 this year and will lose $33,000 that it expected for its next fiscal year. Officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland and the Washington-based Catholic Campaign for Human Development say that Preble Street violated its grant agreement by supporting Maine’s “No on 1” campaign last fall. No on 1 opposed a ballot proposal to overturn the new state law legalizing gay marriage. Voters approved Question 1 on Nov. 3. Homeless Voices for Justice, a statewide advocacy group, is led by people who have been homeless. It works on issues that affect the homeless, such as supporting affordable housing and preventing violence against the homeless. Portland-based Preble Street, which runs a dozen programs to provide housing and other services for the poor and the homeless, provides staff support for Homeless Voices for Justice.

Catholics for Marriage Equality has begun an effort to replace the lost funding by raising $17,400 for Homeless Voices for Justice. Anne Underwood, a co-founder of the group that advocates for same-sex marriage, said Bishop Richard Malone is punishing the homeless because of politics.

“This is petty vindictiveness,” she said. “After the election is over, suddenly the money is revoked from poor people because of a political opinion held by the bishop.”

Bishop Malone made headlines last year for asking all parishes in Maine to hold a second collection to fund anti-gay marriage political campaigning.

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