Catholic Priest Refuses To Circulate Petitions Repealing Washington’s Marriage Equality Law

Father Michael Ryan

Earlier this month, two Catholic bishops of the Archdiocese of Seattle wrote a letter asking parishioners to take part in a campaign to repeal Washington state’s recently enacted marriage equality law. Calling the effort “critically important,” Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo argued that denying same-sex couples the rights of marriage does not constitute discrimination since gays and lesbians are inherently “different” from straight relationships.

But at least one Catholic leader — Father Michael Ryan of St. James Cathedral — is resisting the effort and refusing to “circulate petitions inside his parish for the campaign to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law”:

Dear Friends,

Archbishop Sartain has written a letter in which he has expressed his support for Referendum 74 and for the collecting of signatures in parishes. Media reports regarding this are somewhat misleading. While the Archbishop has given his support to the effort, he has wisely left it up to each pastor to decide whether to allow the collection of signatures in his own parish.

After discussing the matter with the members of the Cathedral’s pastoral ministry team, I have decided that we will not participate in the collecting of signatures in our parish. Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community.

Father Ryan

Opponents of Washington state’s new marriage equality law have only gathered 5,681 of the 120,577 signatures necessary (and 150,000 goal) to repeal the law at the ballot through Referendum 74. They have only two months left to collect the rest, as the law is set to take effect on June 6. The Seattle Times notes that Preserve Marriage Washington, a campaign funded by the race-baiting National Organization for Marriage, has not yet utilized paid signature collectors and the totals do not seem to reflect the outreach to 1,500 churches with 50,000 completed petitions the group has boasted.

(HT: The Stranger’s Slog)