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Church vandalism heats up gay marriage debate

January 5, 2009 | 12:07 pm

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights sent out an e-mail this morning urging Catholics to call San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to protest vandalism over the weekend at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in the city’s Castro District.

The e-mail claims that opponents of Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to ban gay marriage, defaced the church with swastikas alongside the names of Pope Benedict XVI and the San Francisco archbishop.

“Part of the blame for the latest attack goes to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors,” the e-mail said, because “they say nothing” when “gay men dressed as nuns show up at Mass.”

On the other side, proponents of gay marriage held an “Equality Camp” over the weekend in San Francisco to train activists to “leverage social media/socialnetwork/Internet-based activities” around fighting for gay marriage and combine them with traditional political organizing.

Proponents of gay marriage are also organizing a nationwide demonstration this Saturday against the National Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress in 1996. Meanwhile, the legal wrangling over Proposition 8 continues.

Opponents of the measure filed a lawsuit challenging its legality the day after the election.

The Supreme Court could hear arguments as soon as March.

-- Jessica Garrison