J. Peter Sartain, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Seattle, on Wednesday warned that society would be harmed “beyond repair” if Washington state voters approve Referendum 74, which would uphold a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers.

Sartain called on Catholics to reject the law in a lengthy 4-minute video posted on the church's website.

“We urge our Catholic people to uphold our consistent Catholic teaching on marriage for the good of the Church, society, husbands and wives and their children,” Sartain said. “Therefore, we bishops reject the redefinition of marriage as a 'civil contract between two persons.'”

Sartain argued that marriage cannot be redefined because God is the “author of marriage.”

“Thus, marriage is not a purely human institution. It springs from God's own plan for the world, for the good of married couples, for the birth and rearing of children and for the good of all society.”

Sartain said that the church is opposed to discrimination based on sexual orientation but then added: “However, redefining marriage as a means of dealing with important issues of equality and respect for all persons will not achieve the goal of defending the rights of all and would overturn centuries of common law.”

“To suddenly change the God-given and time honored understanding of marriage would be a very harmful thing for our state and for the world. … Should marriage be redefined in our state the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair,” Sartain added. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)