Catholic bishops: Gay marriage threatens religious liberty
The state’s four Catholic bishops, while professing to abhor “bias” and “rejection” directed at gays and lesbians, have delivered a pastoral statement calling Referendum 74 a threat to religious liberty.
Ref. 74, on the November ballot, would make Washington the seventh state to legalize marriage between partners of the same sex.
The bishops’ statement, issued Tuesday by the Washington State Catholic Conference, came as Washington-based Expedia became the latest major employer to come out in support of same-sex marriage.
In the most controversial passage of their pastoral statement, the Catholic bishops argue that passage of Referendum 74 would make THEM the objects of discrimination.
“The legal separation of marriage from procreation would have a chilling effect on religious liberty and the right of conscience,” the bishops claim. “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 value of children being raised by their biological mothers and fathers.
“No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination. Recent attacks on churches, businesses and nonprofit organizations that express their conscientious objection to the redefinition of marriage underscore the danger.”