As Washington governor Chris Gregoire and state legislators push for marriage equality, the state's Roman Catholic leaders are pushing back.
In a letter published late Friday on the Seattle archdiocese's website, Washington State's four Catholic bishops call on members of the faith to contact lawmakers and urge them to "defend the current definition of marriage," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
The bishops say that only heterosexual marriage should be legally recognized because it is "related to bringing children into the world and the continuation of the human race." There are "forces already undermining family life today," and recognizing other unions would exacerbate the situation, they write. They also say that limiting marriage to straight couples "does not depend on anyone's religious beliefs" and that this definition of marriage "is grounded not in faith, but in reason and the experience of society." The letter was signed by (pictured, clockwise from top left) J. Peter Sartain, Blase Cupich, Eusebio Elizondo, and Joseph J. Tyson.
State senator Ed Murray, who is both gay and Catholic, objected strongly to the letter, the paper reports. "My first reaction, as a practicing Catholic, is that this is very hurtful," said Murray, chief sponsor of the state's marriage equality legislation. A total of 23 senators introduced the bill Friday. Governor Gregoire, also a Catholic, requested the legislation and has spoken out in its favor.