Brooklyn School Rejects Donation Over Gay Marriage

Saturday, Jul 9, 2011  |  Updated 11:33 AM EDT
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Brooklyn's Bishop DiMarzio officially snubs lawmakers over passage of the same sex marriage bill.

Brooklyn's Bishop DiMarzio officially snubs lawmakers over passage of the same sex marriage bill.

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A Brooklyn school has rejected a donation from a lawmaker who voted to support New York's gay marriage law.

The parish school, now named Queen of the Rosary Academy, rejected and returned a $50 check from Brooklyn Assemblyman Joseph Lentol.

"Yes, I was surprised and a little disappointed, "said Lentol.

For as long as he can remember, the veteran lawmaker has donated $50 to buy savings bonds for two graduating 8th graders.

Lentol was among the majority of state lawmakers who voted in favor of same- sex marriage last month.

"What I have done in this particular piece of legislation is what I was taught as a Catholic," Lentol said.

Brooklyn's Bishop, Nicholas Dimarzio, doesn't share Lentol's interpretation of Catholicism as applied to gay marriage.

In fact, the bishop sent a letter to churches and schools asking them not to accept gifts from lawmakers who voted for the bill, or Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who signed it.

Monsignor Joseph Calise, Mt. Carmel's pastor, said the parish came up with the $50 needed to purchase the savings bonds so no students were deprived.

Calise told NBC New York the $50 flap was distracting him from the feast currently in full swing and taking attention away for the work the parish already does to include homosexuals.

"I don't want anyone to think I or this parish is homophobic," said Calise. He told NBC New York the parish holds gay and lesbian support groups twice a month.

The lawmaker told us he thought the bishop had the right to do what he did, he just doesn't agree.

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