Voter approval of a Washington state referendum legalizing same-sex marriage was greeted by a call for “real and respectful dialogue in our church” by the organization of Catholics supporting Referendum 74 — and by bishops’ statements their sees to stronger catechesis on traditional and sacramental marriage.
“We are very proud that Catholics around the country followed their consciences rather than the rigid position of the hierarchy, and their voting reflected the spirit of Catholic social teaching,” said the statement from Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington, alluding to other successful popular votes legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine and Maryland.
“Sadly, our bishops chose to ignore both Gospel and pastoral wisdom in their aggressive opposition to civil marriage for all God’s children,” the statement added. “They also failed to stand up for deep Catholic American respect for proper separation of church and state and for simple fairness to all.”
In a statement released the day after the balloting, when it seemed likely the marriage equality law would be ratified 52 percent to 48 percent, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said he was “disappointed that so many voters failed to recognize marriage between a man and a woman as the natural institution for the permanent, faithful covenant of love for a couple, for bringing children into the world, and for nurturing and educating those children.”
“Despite the election results, the campaign has been an opportunity for the church to reaffirm its consistent teaching on marriage,” Sartain wrote. “The campaign to preserve marriage as a union between a man and a woman represents a starting point for a long-term effort to educate Catholics about its meaning and purpose. The church offers a vision of marriage and family life that enriches our communities and society and we remain committed to that vision while respecting the dignity of all persons.”
Sartain, Spokane Bishop Blase J. Cupich, Yakima Bishop Joseph J. Tyson, Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo and the Washington State Catholic Conference were high-profile opponents of Referendum 74. [More]