On June 1, William Donohue wrote to vice president Al Gore asking him to support the Vatican’s request that the World Gay Pride march either be postponed or moved to another location (the event took place July 1-July 9 in Rome). On July 3, Gore faxed a letter to Donohue explaining why he would do nothing; he also took the occasion to urge tolerance when it comes to sexual orientation.
Donohue enclosed a copy of his news release of June 1 quoting leaders of the march who said they chose Rome as the venue so they could offend the Vatican. He wrote to Gore because he was the highest-ranking American official to endorse the event. The news release included the following remarks:
“Given the stated objectives of the principal organizer of the event, Imma Battaglia, the Vatican’s request is modest and reasonable. Battaglia has been quoted as saying ‘F—you, the pope and all the rest,’ and has said of the event that ‘Of course it’s provocative and the choice of Rome was deliberate.’ She accused the Church of ‘oppressing people’s sexuality.’
“Not only was the city of Rome chosen as an in-your-face gesture to the Vatican, this event is actually promoting the very behavior that accounts for the high mortality rate among gay men. Skeptics should tap into the worldpride2000.com website and witness the links to porn sites, personals, escort services, youth organizations, etc.”
On July 3, Gore faxed Donohue his reply. “As you know,” Gore said, “I deeply respect the work of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights—and all organizations that are committed to ridding our society of bias and prejudice.” He added, “this is one issue where I will be unable to help.” The critical part of Gore’s letter was as follows: “But I believe that the larger issue is one of tolerance. Just as I will stand by you whenever you are working to fight intolerance on religious grounds, I also believe we need to be tolerant when it comes to sexual orientation as well.”
Donohue had a few things to say about Gore’s letter:
“My letter to the vice president was occasioned by the expressed intolerance of Roman Catholicism by the leaders of the World Gay Pride march, and he writes back saying ‘the larger issue here is one of tolerance’ for sexual orientation! This is precisely the kind of spin that is deeply insulting. So wedded is Gore to the politics of the radical gay agenda that he never bothered to comment on what Imma Battaglia, the principal organizer of the event, said of the pope; in the news release that accompanied my letter to Gore, Battaglia was quoted as saying ‘F—you’ to the pope.
“Gore’s letter demonstrates how selective his commitment to tolerance really is. If only his professed interest in combating gay bashing were matched by his interest in combating Catholic bashing, then there would be no issue. But his letter to me speaks volumes about both his ethics and his politics, and on both counts he bombs with Catholics.”