Tom Lang, co-founder of KnowThyNeighbor.org forwarded me this letter sent to him by its sender, Mr. Don Gorton, chairman of The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project:
December 18, 2006
The Hon. Raymond Flynn
President, Catholic Citizenship
198 Tremont Street, Suite 450
Boston, MA 02116 -4705
Re: Incident at "Rally for Democracy" in Worcester
Dear Mayor Flynn:
I am writing to express grave concern over the incident reported to have occurred at your "Rally for Democracy" in Worcester on December 16, 2006, involving the Executive Director of Catholic Citizenship, Larry Cirignano. The use of force against a pro-marriage equality demonstrator, as reported in yesterday's Worcester Telegram and Gazette, is a serious matter. While Mr. Cirignano, in today's Boston Globe, denies that he pushed the target of the incident, Ms. Sarah Loy, to the ground, he apparently admits that he laid hands on her in an effort to interfere with her exercise of constitutionally protected rights. There apparently is no dispute that Ms. Loy fell down, irrespective of whether Mr. Cirignano intended the fall to happen. There are reports that Ms. Loy suffered cuts and bruises.
This episode represents a regrettable development in the divisive fight to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and throughout the United States. It is my understanding that assault and battery charges are pending. Moreover, reports suggest that Mr. Cirignano violated Ms. Loy's civil rights by the exercise of force. It is not clear whether Ms. Loy suffered injury within the meaning of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, but even a bruise can be enough to elevate the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony.
I trust that your organization does not condone actions which forcibly deprive citizens of their constitutionally protected rights, or resort to unlawful battery as a means of promoting a ban on same-sex marriage. I accordingly ask that you place Mr. Cirignano on administrative leave from his position with your organization while the matter is investigated. I also ask that Catholic Citizenship formally apologize to Ms. Loy for the offense to her person and her liberty, going beyond the statement attributed to the organization in today's Boston Globe.
As Mayor of Boston, you earned a reputation for vigilance in protecting the civil rights of citizens. I am hopeful that you will see the importance of the serious civil rights concerns that are at stake in this matter, and deal appropriately with Mr. Cirignano's conduct.
Chair, The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
There is now a chorus of people calling for Larry Cirignano's resignation over his unprovoked attack on Mrs. Sarah Loy. If you have not had the opportunity to fully inform yourself on this issue, check out the many blogs covering the story, like KnowThyNeighbor.org. I am aghast at what Mr. Cirignano has done, but it just keeps getting worse. Be sure to read his email correspondance with people even after this event was covered in the newspaper. It seems to me that the man running Catholic Citizenship is a lunatic.