The Colorado Catholic Conference will launch a statewide campaign this month to try to get two key measures on Colorado’s November ballot - the protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and the prohibition of late-term abortions.

The Colorado Catholic Conference will be assisting each parish in Colorado in conducting signature drives for both the state marriage amendment (Initiative 83) and the state late-term abortion ban (Initiative 80). The ban would create a class 4 felony for those who knowingly performed a late-term abortion.

Each petition needs a minimum of 68,000 valid signatures by Aug. 7 in order for the issues to be put on the ballot this fall.

Archbishop Charles Chaput, in his recent column in the Denver Catholic Register, urged all Catholics to sign petitions that will be circulating in the parishes.

“We need Initiative 80, because through it, Colorado’s constitution will offer a valuable public witness in defending human life, an example we can work from to further lead our society toward a culture of life,” wrote the archbishop. Initiative 83 “will go a long way to protecting marriage as the cornerstone of our culture,” he added.

"If these important measures do not get on the ballot in November, we will have failed to add to our state laws a strong message of respect for our families and new life," he added.

“Only when we actively engage public issues with an energy and conscience informed by our faith and our moral convictions, do we truly live as ‘faithful citizens,’” the archbishop wrote. “We serve the common good best by being true to what we claim to believe - both in the public square and in our private lives.”

Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs has begun a month-long series of columns on the ballot measures in The Colorado Catholic Herald.

"If same-sex marriage is legalized here,” Bishop Sheridan wrote last week, “churches that refuse to perform these ‘weddings’ could lose their tax-exempt status.”  “And,” he continued, “any religious teaching which condemns homosexual acts (would be) considered hate speech and is punishable by imprisonment. This reduces the Christian view of marriage and sexuality to bigotry."

Jon Paul, coordinator of Coloradans for Marriage, told the Rocky Mountain News that the marriage amendment already has in hand between 15,000 and 20,000 signatures. He said that Catholic involvement would boost these numbers considerably.