Washington Catholics say 'gay marriage' backers mislead

Dr Pia de Solenni Ethicist and Moral Theologian Credit Michelle Bauman CNA CNA500x320 US Catholic News 11 1 12 Dr. Pia de Solenni, Ethicist and Moral Theologian. | Michelle Bauman-CNA.

A group of Catholic lay leaders in Washington state has asked voters to oppose the state's "gay marriage" ballot proposal Referendum 74, warning against those who "do not accurately represent Catholic teaching."

"As Catholics, we believe that marriage is the unique bond of love and life between a woman and a man, which is the source of the family," three members of the group said in an Oct. 31 opinion piece in The Seattle Times.

"In union with our church and our bishops, we are voting to reject Referendum 74. We urge other Catholics and people of goodwill to join us."

Catholic theologian Pia de Solenni was one of the essay's three authors. Together, they represented the informal group Catholics for Traditional Marriage -- Washington State, which has launched a Facebook page of the same name.

Their essay responded to an Oct. 28 Sunday newspaper ad in several major Washington newspapers, including The Seattle Times. The ad listed the names of over 1,000 Catholics who endorse "gay marriage."

The Oct. 31 piece from Catholics for Traditional Marriage countered the impression left by the ads by noting that the Catholic Church teaches marriage is "between one man and one woman" and is "a bond that is set apart because it unites the couple in a way that no other bond does."

It noted the state is involved in marriage not to regulate sexual activities but because marriage "generally involves children" through spousal intimacy and union.

"As such, the family becomes the basic unit of society and thus deserves special protection," they said.

Referendum 74 could "directly affect" First Amendment rights like the freedom of religion and freedom of speech for those who do not believe in "same-sex marriage."

"We would be forced to accept a legal definition of marriage that signifies a genderless institution," they said.

They noted that in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., laws and rules accompanying the legal recognition of same-sex unions as marriages have barred Catholic organizations from providing adoption services.

Referendum 74 lacks provisions addressing these freedom of conscience concerns, they said.

Supporters of the statement include Gonzaga Law School professor David DeWolf, Sacred Heart Radio President Ron Belter, writer Mark Shea and Kathleen Tansey of the Seattle Archdiocesan Council of Women. Knights of Columbus State Deputy Don McBride, who heads the over 17,000 knights in his state, is another supporter.

Political figures supporting the essay include Democratic State Rep. Mark Miloscia, Republican State Rep. Judy Warnick and Republican State Sen. Michael Padden.

The Catholic group joins its voice to those of the Washington State bishops, who issued a pastoral statement on the referendum through the Washington State Catholic Conference.

"Our support for traditional marriage is not born of bias or intolerance toward anyone. Instead, our purpose is to support the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in order to promote the common good," the pastoral statement said.

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