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Washington (State)

Bishops want churchgoers to circulate anti-gay marriage petitions

Saturday, April 7, 2012

SEATTLE — The two bishops of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle said they will call on parishioners to collect signatures in support of Referendum 74, a ballot measure aimed at overturning the recently passed marriage equality law in Washington state.

J. Peter Sartain (left) and Eusebio Elizondo

In a letter to the archdiocese, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo described the issue as “critically important” and said information on the signature drive is being sent to pastors throughout the Western Washington diocese, reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In their letter, the bishops specifically deny that refusing marriage to same-sex couples equates to discrimination — an argument made by Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Catholic, in arguing for marriage equality.

“Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination,” the bishops claim. “Marriage can only be between a man and a woman because of its unique ends, purpose and place in society. The word ‘marriage’ isn’t simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships.

“Instead ‘marriage’ reflects a deep reality — the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman. There is nothing else like it, and it can’t be defined or made into something that it isn’t.”

State Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), an openly gay, Catholic lawmaker who sponsored the same-sex marriage bill, described the bishops’ efforts as “reprehensible.”

The marriage equality law does not require churches to marry gay couples or make church facilities available for same-sex unions.

The petition drive is being coordinated by the group Preserve Marriage Washington, a coalition that opposes same-sex marriage and filed R-74.

Opponents hope to collect 120,577 signatures by June 6 to place the ballot measure before voters in November seeking to repeal the marriage equality law.

The measure allowing same-sex marriage was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire in February, and takes effect June 7, but will be placed on hold pending the outcome of the November vote if Preserve Marriage Washington collects the required number of signatures to quality for the ballot.

Recent polling in Washington shows 50 percent of voters would uphold the marriage equality law, versus 46 percent who would vote to repeal.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. way to go seattle! good standing up for equal rights for all! oh wait never mind. :-/

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 1:59pm
  2. they don’t have much to stand on, themselves.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:02pm
  3. So when are these guys gonna lose their tax-exempt status? Hmmmm…?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:02pm
  4. where is the irs? is this not taking a political stand thus exempting the tax exempt status?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:08pm
  5. love to be a fly on the wall when they get to where they think they’re going when they die!!! SURPRISE!!!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:09pm
  6. hmmm separation of church and state conflict, maybe?

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:09pm
  7. Yes it is amazing how seperation of church and state does not apply everywhere. Seems we have alot of control issues residing still within the church. People wonder why I do not attend lol.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:15pm
  8. Can I borrow the petitions? I’m out of toilet paper.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:20pm
  9. This should IMMEDIATELY revoke the church’s tax free status. There’s NO excuse for this.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:25pm
  10. Don’t they have other problems like child sexual abuse to deal with. I think the Catholics should not be judging anyone right now.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:39pm
  11. in other words participate in hate propoganda

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:41pm
  12. TAX….THE…..CHURCH! It is no longer a religious institution, it is a political organization and should be taxed!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:44pm
  13. Lets pass a petition for the clergy to stop molesting children, and then the Roman Catholic Church for covering it up.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:44pm
  14. That is sooooo NOT Christian!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:55pm
  15. These old bastards and alll their kind will be right at home burning in Hell. They preach hate and intolerance and that is not gods teachings at all.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 2:57pm
  16. Those names should be invalid due to religous freedoms in this country. i am a GAY Christian and i know my religious freedom is being violated by these Catholic molesters.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 3:02pm
  17. The Catholic Church has formed PACS all over the country that not only support, but organize and fund anti-marriage equality laws and constitutional ammendments. They are no longer acting as a strictly religious institution and therefore should give up their tax-exempt status–on a Federal level. Someone raised a great question: Where is the IRS??? They should be looking into this! At a time when our country needs $$$, we are overlooking an entity that is listed as one of the top 5 richest on the planet!! Somebody needs to get going on this.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 3:15pm
  18. They are worried that if people become more and more enlightened and evolved, the church will lose more and more money, I mean people. It takes alot of money to keep a corporation that big running. Eventually, people WILL know the truth and

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 3:31pm
  19. Amen – no pun intended – to all the calls for tax-free status removal. It’s a massive rort for all religious organisations, just think of all the televangelists and various “ministries” that have been set up like corporations. And these charlatans ride high on the profits.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 3:31pm
  20. And that TRUTH will surely set them FREE!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 3:32pm
  21. Can the Parishioners also distrubute petitions to stop the Priests from sexually abusing children? I would certainly rather see two loving adults of any gender legally married than see some wizened old bastard with a clerical collar around his neck abusing some innocent child.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 3:47pm
  22. Just one more reason to hate hypocritical Catholics.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 4:07pm
  23. I don’t hHATE the but I truly PITY them!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 4:20pm
  24. seeing this story and the one below is ironic to me,, here in conservative clark county the russian orthadox voters will be out in force to keep us from keeping equal rights.

    Posted on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 5:21pm
  25. They are such hypocrites. I’m glad that I burned my bible. Religion is a joke.

    Posted on Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 1:01am
  26. Has anyone filled out Form 3949-A (turning in Tax violations) and sent it to the IRS? You do not have to identify yourself on the form.

    Posted on Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 3:52am
  27. All of us are God’s children so what give this Bishop the right to out cast the given rights of anyone. God loves all of us and this Bishop will have to answer to God as do we all.

    Posted on Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 4:27am