Study: Knights of Columbus has spent $15.8 million to deny the freedom to marry since 2005

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 exposedthat NOM has been intentionally trying to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" as a key strategy in its campaign for years. 

Our founder and president Evan Wolfson commented on the study today in a release. He said:  

At a time when bishops are shutting down hospitals, homeless shelters, and even parish churches, it's hard to understand how an organization that says it's dedicated to ‘charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism' couldn't think of a better use for $15.8 million than to deny the freedom to marry for so many Americans. This spending not only violates the golden rule, but is out of step with the point of view of the solid majority of American Catholics who like most Americans support the freedom to marry.

Polling has consistently shown that a growing number of American Catholics support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. In March, polls from The Wall Street Journal/NBC and the Public Religion Research Institute indicated that 59 percent of American Catholics favor marriage for same-sex couples. 

The Knights of Columbus supports many programs that do good in our country and beyond - they award scholarships for students, they support strong communities, and they help to send coats, food, and wheelchairs to people in need. So how else could the Knights of Columbus have spent that $15.8 million? Here are three ways that money could have been better spent and better reflected the views of a majority of Catholics (see notes on sourcing of figures below)


Note: The wheelchair figure is based on the $150 as the cost of a brand new wheelchair through the Global Wheelchair Mission, as reported by the Knights of Columbus. The coats figure is based on $16.25 as the cost of a new coat, as reported by the Knights of Columbus. The meal figure is based on $2.69 as the cost of food at home for a male ages 12-13 years old (assuming 2 meals per day), as reported by the United States Department of Agriculture in August 2012.