Four Roman Catholic parishes in Seattle
have said they will not aid in an effort to repeal the state's gay
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and
Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo said last week in a letter to the
faithful that the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle would help collect
signatures for Referendum 74, arguing that denying marriage to gay
and lesbian couples is not tantamount to discrimination.
“Treating different things
differently is not unjust discrimination. 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,” Sartain wrote.
But at least four parishes are refusing
to go along with the order, the Seattle
“Please be aware that Fr. [John D.]
Whitney has decided that no petitions will be permitted anywhere on
the campus of St. Joseph,” a terse notice on the website of St.
Joseph Parish reads.
Fr. Michael Ryan, the pastor of St.
James Cathedral, announced his decision on Wednesday.
“After discussing the matter with the
members of the Cathedral's pastoral ministry team, I have decided
that we will NOT participate in the collection of signatures in our
parish,” Ryan wrote. “Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful
and seriously divisive in our community.”
St. Mary's Parish and Christ Our Hope
Parish also have decided against backing the effort.
“After much prayer and reflection, I
have decided we will not collect signatures at the parish,” Tricia
Wittman-Todd, the pastoral life coordinator at St. Mary's, wrote in a
letter to parishioners. “I am particularly concerned about our
youth who may be questioning their own sexual identity and need our
support at this time in their lives.”
Washington's gay marriage law was
signed by Governor Chris Gregoire in February. Gay and lesbian
couples may wed in the state starting on June 7. That is, provided
opponents do not gather sufficient signatures to put Referendum 74 on
the ballot, in which case marriage equality would be put on hold
pending the outcome of a November election.
Archbishop Peter Sartain testifies against gay marriage bill.)