MADISON (WKOW) --- A Madison woman is taking aim at a prominent, local religious leader.
Her online petition calls for the removal of Bishop Robert Morlino from the Diocese of Madison.
“We want him removed. We want him gone,” said Amelia Maurer, who started the online petition.
Maurer and others are pushing for action over an email sent to priests in the Madison diocese about funeral rights for same-sex couples.
Maurer sees it as discrimination, which is why she said she started the petition.
“I'm not going to sit back and watch the people I love who are members of LGBTQI community be made to feel bad and be persecuted because of who they are.”
Maurer said losing a husband or wife is one of the most painful things a person can go through.
“And he is considering restricting services to them. And not only that, but interrogating the living partner about their consensual, adult activity.”
The diocese released a statement saying the communication is not official policy, but does meet the approval of Bishop Morlino.
The statement went on to say ---
"The communication, which took the form of a weekly e-mail to priests from the Vicar General of the diocese, was a result of pastoral questions asked by the priests themselves, and was to serve as a tool to provide some framework and considerations, in this confidential setting."
Mary Kay Radke, with Integrity/Dignity-Madison, questions the diocese leadership.
“I don't believe that statement. I believe that's deflecting. He, the leadership, knows exactly what they're trying to accomplish,” Radke said.
“Because I believe discrimination, for whatever reason, against people because of their orientation, race, religion, what have you, is wrong,” Maurer said.
Maurer said the petition will be sent to a number of decision makers within the Catholic Church, including Pope Francis.
So far, more than 3,300 people have signed the online petition.