MassEquality, a statewide organisation that has fought to preserve marriage equality, this week demanded that Catholic Citizenship immediately remove its executive director following a physical assault of a marriage supporter this past weekend.

The assault occurred when VoteonMarriage.org, which opposes marriage equality, held a rally in Worcester.

Protester Sarah Loy, 27, who attended the rally with her husband, was among a crowd of those opposing same-sex marriage, holding a sign and standing near the outdoor podium.

Catholic Citizenship Executive Director Larry Cirignano rushed toward Loy, told her to “get out,” and then pushed her to the ground, causing her head to hit the concrete sidewalk.

According to Loy she was simply holding a sign which read, “MassEquality: No Discrimination in the Constitution” when Cirignano assaulted her. Cirignano is now facing criminal assault charges filed by the Worcester police department.

“This is completely unacceptable,” said MassEquality campaign director Marc Solomon. “Sarah Loy had every right to peacefully hold her ground, and this aggressive action by a leader of the opposition should not be allowed to stand.

“If Catholic Citizenship is indeed serious about its roots – that it believes in tolerance even as it works to defeat marriage equality – then it should stand behind those principles and tell Mr. Cirignano to clean out his desk,” Solomon added.

Solomon added that if Cirignano did, indeed, as he alleges, believe Loy was too close to the podium, the rally was attended by police who could and should have been called to peacefully ask Loy to move.

“This was more than intemperance,” added Solomon. “This action demonstrated the deep, anti-gay sentiment that, unfortunately, seems to permeate through our opponents. Individuals can make mistakes, but movement leaders must respond to a higher standard.

In this, Mr. Cirignano clearly failed and he should go.”

MassEquality was founded as a coalition dedicated to protecting the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision on marriage equality and to defeating any discriminatory amendment to the Massachusetts state constitution.

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