The Coalition for Economic Justice held a rally outside of Catholic Charities’ Delaware Avenue offices Tuesday morning.
The organization, which includes local religious leaders, was protesting the agency’s decision to end foster and adoption services; the decision to end the services was made in August after a married same-sex couple tried to adopt a child.
“The decision to no longer provide foster care and adoption services was driven by the Catholic Church’s teaching on what constitutes a marriage,” explained CEO of Catholic Charities, Dennis Walczyk.
Protesters also called for Bishop Richard Malone to resign as head of Buffalo’s Catholic Church, and to step down as chairman of the board of trustees for Catholic Charities.
Bishop Malone has said in the past he will not resign.
The Coalition for Economic Justice feels Catholic Charities should not longer accept public money following its decision on foster and adoption services.
“If you want to serve the public and use public dollars, 18 million of our public dollars, you can’t discriminate,” said Rev. Kirk Laubenstein with CEJ.
Public money makes up a large portion of Catholic Charities’ $40 million annual funding.
“If we were to lose government funding, which is a significant part of our operating revenue, it would have a devastating affect on this community,” said Walczyk, who told News 4 the organization was put in a tough spot in August.
“Queer folks can love each other and they can be in same sex couples and that’s the law of the land. And if Catholic Charities wants to discriminate, they can use their catholic appeal money,” Laubenstein said.
Walczyk said the foster and adoption program made up a small portion of the services offered by Catholic Charities, which serves all of western New York.
“We felt that the only decision we could make, is if we couldn’t serve everyone we will serve no-one,” he said.
Walczyk said Bshope Malone’s place as chairman of the board of trustees is not up for negotiation.
Catholic Charities responded to the rally with this statement: