.- The Washington state governor has signed into law a bill that recognizes same-sex âmarriage,â prompting those who support the traditional definition to file a referendum to challenge the law.
âPreserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman is worth fighting for,â Brian Brown, president of the National OrganizationÂ for Marriage, said Feb. 13.
âMarriage is a cornerstone of society that not only unites a couple to each other, but ensures that any children born of their union will have the best opportunity to be raised by their own mother and father. We're committed to giving Washington voters the right to decide the definition of marriage in their state, just as voters in 31 other states have been able to do,â Brown said.
In response to âgay marriageâ being legalized, the group Preserve Marriage Washington filed Referendum 73 on Feb. 13. It must collect 120,577 valid voter signatures by June 6 to put the new law on hold until the referendum faces a vote in November.
"I think in the end, people are going to preserve marriage,â Joe Fulten, senior pastor at Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Wash., told the Associated Press.
The National Organization for Marriage has pledged to work with the state organization.
Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law on Feb. 13. She said it was âa day historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights, a day when we did what was right, we did what was just, and we did what was fair.â
The governor identifies herself as Catholic, but her decision undercuts the teaching and work of the Catholic Church.
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle testified against the bill in January, saying the attempt to redefine marriage âignores the origin, purpose and value of marriage to individuals, families, and society.â He voiced concern that the redefinition would eliminate special laws that support and recognize the âirreplaceable contributionâ married couples make to society by âbringing to life the next generation.â
âMarriage makes a contribution to the common good of society unlike any other relationship, through the procreation, rearing and education of children,â he said.
In a Feb. 2 interview, Washington Catholic Conference executive director Sr. Sharon Park told EWTN News that the conference is prepared for a referendum process.
She said she has âno doubtâ that organizers can gather enough signatures. She said the referendum has a good chance of success because polls indicate a majority of Washington residents support the definition of marriage.