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Catholic Church Tells Archbishop No Thanks on Signature Drive

Catholic Church Tells Archbishop No Thanks on Signature Drive


At least one pastor is refusing to go along with a plan to use Washington's Catholic churches as signature-gathering centers in an effort to repeal the state's marriage equality law.

St. James Cathedral won't be taking part in the campaign to add a repeal of the marriage equality law to the ballot in November, its lead pastor announced in a letter to parishioners. Father Michael Ryan said it would be "hurtful and seriously divisive" to go ahead with the plan from Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain.

"While the Archbishop has given his support to the effort, he has wisely left it up to each pastor to decide whether to allow the collection of signatures in his own parish," wrote Father Michael Ryan of St. James Cathedral, according to The Stranger. "After discussing the matter with the members of the Cathedral's pastoral ministry team, I have decided that we will not participate in the collecting of signatures in our parish. Doing so would, I believe, prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community."

Ryan wasn't the only Catholic to balk at the idea. Governor Christine Gregoire is a Catholic and signed the bill into law. State Sen. Ed Murray, who is gay and Catholic, was a major backer and called the archbishop's decision "repressible."

Opponents of same-sex marriage have to collect 120,577 petition signatures before June 6 in order to add a repeal to the ballot.

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