Sixty-three former Roman Catholic
priests are expected to announce their support for Referendum 74, the
Washington state ballot box question which asks voters to uphold –
or reject – a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers.
According to the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, the priests will announce their endorsement
at a press conference on Thursday.
The Catholic Church has been vocal in
its opposition to passage of the measure.
“Once marriage is redefined as a
genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public
and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique
meaning of marriage,” Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of the Diocese of
Last month, J. Peter Sartain, the
archbishop of Seattle, warned that society
would be harmed “beyond repair” if Referendum 74 was approved.
He's also asked parishes to collect donations for the campaign
working to defeat the measure. Several parishes have openly refused.
The 63 former priests said the church's
aggressive stance against the issue made them “uneasy.”
“We are uneasy with the aggressive
efforts of Catholic bishops who oppose R-74 and want to support the
71 percent of Catholics (Public Religion Research Institute) who
support civil marriage for gays as a valid Catholic position,” they
said in a statement.