Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson and two of the churches in his region
State Tells Catholic Church in Washington It Has Gone Too Far

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com August 29 2012 5:21 PM ET

It's illegal for the Catholic Church in Washington to pass the plate and raise money to defeat marriage equality, state officials have said.

The Associated Press reports that when Yakima bishop Joseph Tyson sent a letter to pastors asking them to "announce a special parishoner financial appeal," he was out of line. The money raised would have been donated to Preserve Marriage Washington.

Although the church can distribute envelopes if it wants, it can't collect them. Parishioners would have to make the donations themselves, according to what Lori Anderson from the state's Public Disclosure Commission tells the AP.

Tyson has also informed his pastors that come October, he has a "Pastoral Letter on Marriage" that he would like read in every parish.

None of this would be the church's first move to combat the new marriage equality law, which was signed by the governor but now goes to a review by voters. A group of bishops posted a public letter voicing their opposition even before the law passed. They argued that marriage should remain between a man and a woman because it is "related to bringing children into the world and the continuation of the human race."

Then the church offered to use its parishes as signature-gathering centers when an effort was launched to put the new law up for a majority vote.