The Chronicle reports that as the GOP lawmakers headed for the exit doors, Sister Roma, an iconic San Francisco drag queen, blew kisses toward them and was hailed with a standing ovation on the Assembly floor.
The California Catholic Conference was among some of the religious groups that had joined Republican lawmakers in urging Democrats to disinvite the Sisters to the event. They argued that it was an “anti-Christian” group that derides religion, especially Catholicism.
Roma told reporters that the right-wing fueled protests over the group's appearance at the Pride event reflected the national rise of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
“They’re trying to other us, they’re trying to dehumanize us, they’re attempting to criminalize us and then eventually be free to eradicate us,” Roma said.
“There are people who would just like to pretend like we don’t exist when the fact is queer and trans people have always been here and we will always be here.”
Republican James Gallagher, the Assembly’s Minority Leader, led the walkout.
The Chronicle reported that “Outside the Capitol, a few hundred people joined in a prayer vigil to oppose the Pride Month ceremony because it featured a member of the order of drag nuns. The group prayed for the ‘salvation’ of the sisters.”
“I recognize that the Sisters have done charitable work in the community,” Gallagher said in a statement obtained by The Chronicle.
“But their vulgar mockery of our Christian faith is extremely insulting and disrespectful. We cannot condone this.”
Assembly member Scott Weiner, a San Francisco Democrat who earlier this year formed an exploratory committee to run for the congressional seat currently held by Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, nominated Roma to be honored at the event.
Wiener, who is gay, noted the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have a long history of philanthropic work. The order was founded in San Francisco in 1979 largely to help the LGBTQ community as the HIV/AIDS epidemic killed tens of thousands of people.“I’m so proud of Sister Roma and her work in the community,” Wiener said.
“I’m proud of California for standing strong to support LGBTQ people as our community is under assault.”
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were at the center of a controversy last month over the Los Angeles Dodgers decision to disinvite the group from appearing at its June 16 Pride Night, a decision the team later reversed.
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