Acushnet Church Threatened After Posting Anti-Gay-Marriage Sign

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV

ACHUSHNET (CBS) – A controversial sign at a Catholic Church has prompted some violent threats from critics.

The staff at St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet says police are watching the property after someone called and threatened to burn the church down.

It’s all over a sign that says, “Two men are friends, not spouses.”

The head of pastoral services put it up because,”he thought it’d be a good chance to make sure everyone knew where the Catholic Church stands on the issue of same sex marriage,” explains Monsignor Gerard O’Connor.

He says it was a response to President Obama going public with his support of gay marriage.

“That’s what the church teaches,” says O’Connor. “We understand people disagree with us, but we do it out of love. We never said we hate anybody.”

The church removed the message after several people showed up to protest.

Vanessa Perry posted a sign on a fence in front of the church’s sign. “You may not be welcome in the church, but you are in this community. Spread love, not hate,” it said, with a rainbow balloon tied to the fence.

“If I reached out and touched one person, maybe a young person, gay, and in the closet or struggling with coming out, I just wanted to let them and the community know that attitude didn’t reflect the whole community,” explains Perry.

She says she does not condone any threats of violence.

She is organizing what she calls a “peaceful gathering” in front of the church Sunday morning.

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