WASHINGTON, August 7, 2003 ( – The 121st annual convention of the Knights of Columbus has condemned religious litmus tests for federal judicial nominees as well as moves toward homosexual ‘marriage’ this week. The moves are a promising sign that the largest Catholic fraternal service organization in the world, with 1.6 million members in North America, is getting engaged as the U.S. moves toward a presidential election year.  “Opposition to a highly qualified Catholic nominee to the federal bench because of a ‘deeply held belief,’ consistent with Catholic teaching, that abortion is always a grave evil … amounts to a de facto religious test for public office,” said the Knights, vowing to “vigorously oppose any effort to deny Catholics the opportunity to serve their country on the federal bench because of ‘deeply held beliefs’ consistent with their Catholic faith.”  The Knights also resolved to “continue to support President Bush’s initiatives to preserve the traditional definition of marriage,” and to oppose any effort to “alter the institution and sacrament of marriage to include unions between persons of the same sex.”  For newswire coverage:   For the Knights of Columbus press release: