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Cardinal Dolan, Who Prayed For Obama On Marriage, To Close Democratic National Convention

Dolan "pray[s] that [Obama] and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman." Democrats: "We support marriage equality."

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The Catholic leader giving the closing prayer at next week's Democratic National Convention said earlier this year that he prays daily that President Obama will work to limit marriage to unions of one man and one woman.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, is to give the closing prayer at the Democrats' convention, according to a statement from the archdiocese this morning. Dolan also is delivering the closing prayer at this week's Republican National Convention in Tampa.

In Charlotte, however, Dolan's prayer will come as the party for which he is praying will be formalizing its support for the right of same-sex couples to marry. The first national major party platform to endorse that right, the Democratic Party platform draft states, "We support marriage equality."

On May 10, the day after Obama announced his personal support for the right of same-sex couples to marry, Dolan said that he prays for President Obama "every day" and would "continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

Earlier, Dolan raised his "grave concerns" about Obama's actions relating to marriage in a letter to Obama in Dolan's role as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In the 2011 letter, Dolan wrote about his "growing sense of urgency" regarding "recent actions taken by your Administration that both escalate the threat to marriage and imperil the religious freedom of those who promote and defend marriage." The actions discussed were the administration's decision — made by Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder — to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court challenges to the law defining marriage for federal purposes as only consisting of one man and one woman.

When New York was debating its marriage equality legislation earlier in 2011, Dolan had called the prospect of the bill an "ominous threat."

In today's statement, the Archdiocese of New York's spokesman said, "It was made clear to the Democratic Convention organizers, as it was to the Republicans, that the Cardinal was coming solely as a pastor, only to pray, not to endorse any party, platform, or candidate. The Cardinal consulted Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte, who gave the Cardinal his consent to take part in the convention that will be taking place in his diocese."

Chris Geidner is a Supreme Court correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Chris Geidner at

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