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MI Families Appeal to Pope for Compassion

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April 17, 2008

Detroit, MI - A group of Michigan families is appealing to Pope Benedict XVI for compassion as the pontiff visits the U.S. this week. They're families with gay and lesbian relatives who feel that statements the Pope has made validate violence towards gay and lesbian people.

The Pope has said homosexually-oriented people are "objectively disordered." Lifelong Catholic Linda Karle-Nelson with Fortunate Families in Detroit has a gay son, and she says statements like that make gay and lesbian people feel unwelcome in the Roman Catholic Church.

"A lot of the language that official Vatican documents have used in talking about gay and lesbian people gives permission to hate gay people."

Karle-Nelson notes that the suicide rate for young gay people and those questioning their sexual orientation is three times the rate of the general population.

She adds that Vatican documents don't specifically denounce gay or lesbian people but do condemn the homosexual lifestyle. However, she notes, recent U.S. Catholic Church documents have called for discussions regarding how to make gay and lesbian people, and their families, feel more welcome in the church.

"Our children are created by God. They are created as they are, and we love them as they are. They have the same rights as heterosexual people."

More information is available online at www.fortunatefamilies.com.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MI