I found this on the Freedom to Marry website:
This morning, Equally Blessed, a coalition of Catholic organizations working toward equality for LGBT people and their families, released a report called “The Strong Right Arm of the Bishops: The Knights of Columbus and Anti-Marriage Equality Funding.” (PDF) The study shows that the Knights of Columbus has spent more than $15.8 million working against the freedom to marry for committed same-sex couples since 2005.
The funding includes $1.9 million to the so-called National Organization for Marriage, which uses divisive tactics and deceptive messages to intimidate lawmakers and frighten voters. Earlier this year, a secret memo exposed that NOM has been intentionally trying to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks” as a key strategy in its campaign for years.
I first saw a link to this on Reddit, and the responses were mixed. Some people were trying to claim that in the context of how much KofC spends on charities, hospitals, scholarships, and so forth, $15.8 million dollars really isn’t that big a deal. Others argued that all they’re doing is expressing an “opinion” on a “very complex social issue” and they have every right to do what they wish with their own money. Now, I’ll certainly grant that they have the right to spend their money as they see fit, but when they contribute money to organizations like NOM, they’re not just expressing an opinion; they’re going out of their way to prevent same sex couples from accessing the same legal benefits as heterosexual couples for no other reason than the passages of a 2,000 year old book. Below is a passage from the study linked above (PDF):
Between 2005, the first year the Knights of Columbus became active in opposing
marriage equality, and 2012, the Knights donated $6.2 million directly to anti-marriage equality efforts, primarily attempts to pass ballot measures banning marriage equality. The Knights was a major contributor to ballot measures in California, Kansas, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Maryland and Maine. The Knights has also given significant resources to state Catholic Conferences and other organizations to run public relations campaigns against marriage equality in states such as Minnesota.
And their fight also focuses on a more general trend of pushing more religion into our secular law:
The Knights of Columbus also gives generously to organizations designed to promote a conservative reading of Catholic theology and a political culture that is favorable to claims of religious rights over civil law, which would allow religiously affiliated organizations to refuse to recognize gay and lesbian couples. The Knights of Columbus donated $9.6 million to organizations to build a conservative religious and political culture between 2006 and 2010.
The problem is this interpretation could also be extended to those who wish to access emergency contraception (such as in the cases of rape), only to have the medical practitioner claim that the prevention of ovulation in someone who has just been sexually assaulted is tantamount to the murder of a born, living child. More often than not, these “conscience clauses” have far less basis in science as they do in unsubstantiated beliefs of cultures and times best left in the past.
Again: if your religion has some issue with homosexuals, yet you feel compelled to stay loyal to your church and its congregation for some reason, then fine. No one is telling you that your pastor has to start performing ceremonies for same sex couples. Just stop trying to tell the rest of the secular world that they have to live by your own standards.
The blog I originally got this from also had a useful graphic … detailing exactly what the KofC could have purchased for the money it sent to organizations in an effort to keep homosexuals from marrying across the country. I don’t know; I tend to think that the actual, tangible items below serve a far greater purpose, but then I don’t share their desire to spread some outdated ideology no matter the cost.