NEW YORK - Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has asked all Catholic churches and schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn to ban state lawmakers who voted for gay marriage in New York.
DiMarzio, the leader of the Brooklyn diocese, has urged the Catholic institutions to decline donations and speaking engagements from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and any lawmaker who voted "yes" on the bill legalizing same-sex marriages.
Calling New York's passage of gay marriage "another 'nail in the coffin' of marriage," DiMarzio issued a statement two days after the New York gay marriage bill was approved by the Legislature demanding that "all pastors and principals to not invite any state legislator to speak or be present at any parish or school celebration."
The Catholic bishop also said the church should now speak more "forcefully and clearly" against gay marriage.
Joseph Lentol, an assemblyman representing Brooklyn’s 50th district, saw firsthand just how serious the Brooklyn Diocese was. The Catholic legislative assembly member who openly voted for same-sex marriage made a donation to Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish School. The donation was declined.
Along with the return of his $50 donation, Lentol received a letter from Monsignor Joseph Calise, the church pastor. The letter stated: "Bishop DiMarzio has requested that all gifts received from politicians supporting same-sex marriage legislation be refused."
Lentol, a patron of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, expressed his confusion about the Bishop’s response to his donation.
“I was certainly surprised because I know the church needs the money and the school certainly needs the money for the scholarship program they run, " Lentol told Pix11.
Calise said he made sure the community children weren't affected by the donation ban.
"I did find another donor to make sure those awards would be given so that the children themselves wouldn't be made to suffer," Calise said, according to Pix11.
Monsignor Kieran Harrington, spokesman for the diocese, explained the church’s frustration with the bill passage to the media. He said the decision to reshape the values of a centuries’ old organization was done too quickly and without proper discussion before voting took place.
"Our legislators did not do their job," Harrington told CBS 2. "If the process had been different, we don’t know if the legislation would have passed."
After the gay marriage law passed on June 24, DiMarzio was among New York’s eight Catholic bishops who issued a statement expressing fear that "both marriage and the family will be undermined" by the new legislation.
The gay marriage law will take effect July 24.