Quoting Pope Francis, Nancy Pelosi urges archbishop not to speak at March for Marriage

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the lead this week in a high-profile lobbying effort to pressure San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone not to attend the controversial March for Marriage event, which she characterized as “venom masquerading as virtue.”

Pelosi, who is one of the country’s most powerful Catholic politicians, made a passionate appeal to the archbishop in a letter obtained by The Chronicle not to participate in the National Organization for Marriage‘s June 19 march on the Supreme Court in Washington.

Cordileone, who is one of the featured speakers at the event, was a leader in the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2008 California anti-gay-marriage initiative.

“We share our love of the Catholic faith and our city of San Francisco,” Pelosi wrote to Cordileone, who, as head of the 560,000-member Archdiocese of San Francisco, has become the Catholic bishops’ point man against gay marriage. She urged him to abandon an event in which some of the participants show “disdain and hate towards LGBT persons.”

Invoking the words of Pope Francis with regard to gays and lesbians, she wrote, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?”

The goal of the second annual March for Marriage is to draw thousands of supporters of what they call “traditional marriage” to walk from the U.S Capitol to the Supreme Court. Conservative former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, as well as Cordileone, are being billed as the star speakers.

The San Francisco Democratic leader is the most influential in a parade of public figures who have come forward to protest the San Francisco archbishop’s participation in an event that is also backed by the Family Research Council. Critics have called the organizers “hate groups” that are targeting gays and lesbians.

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