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Pro-gay marriage Wash. state Catholics defy church on ballot initiative

Samantha Schroeder
Contributor

Despite warnings from Washington state Catholic bishops on the threats against traditional marriage, a group of pro-gay marriage Catholics held a prayer vigil Sunday in Seattle in support of a ballot initiative that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state, according to The Christian Post.

“Catholics believe Christ’s primary message is one of love, and Catholic social teaching teaches us that God loves everybody. We are standing up for centuries of Catholic social teaching,” a vigil attendee told seattlepi.com.

The organization Catholics for Marriage Equality held the vigil at Saint James Cathedral in spite of centuries-old orthodox belief against homosexual relations and decades-old Catholic social teaching against same-sex marriage.

Although many Washington state Catholics — and some Seattle priests — may vote in support of gay marriage and pro-gay marriage candidates in 2012, the Archdiocese of Seattle has openly declared opposition to the ballot initiative Referendum 74.

“As pastors and the bishops of Washington State,” the bishops declared, “we are sensitive to this suffering and reaffirm our commitment to protect and defend the dignity of every human person. We also affirm the Church’s consistent teaching that marriage can only be the union of one man and one woman.”

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain; Bishop Blase J. Cupich of the Diocese of Spokane; Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of the Diocese of Yakima; and Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Seattle signed the declaration.

The bishops urged “Catholic people to uphold our consistent teaching on marriage for the good of the Church, society, spouses and their children.”

The controversy surrounding gay marriage legislation has sent waves of response during these past few months of the election season.

Last month, Bishop Ricken released a letter to the Diocese of Green Bay titled “AN IMPORTANT MOMENT,” denouncing five acts — including abortion and “homosexual ‘marriage’” — as “intrinsically evil.”

Bishop Ricken reminded his parish that, “although the Church is not a political organism,” members need to seriously consider that their choice in the upcoming elections “could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

“To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally ‘complicit’ with these choices,” Ricken wrote. (RELATED: Despite contraception mandate uproar, Catholics prefer Obama over Romney)

In 2007, the Catholic voice in the political sphere was addressed in a document released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, reaffirming the fact that Catholics ”are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support.”

A “position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil,” the bishops wrote, “may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.”

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