Some Catholic parishes opting-out of anti-gay-marriage drive

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM

SEATTLE -- Catholics who go to mass on Sunday may be asked to sign petitions to overturn the Washington law that allows same-sex marriages.

Earlier this month, the archbishop of the Seattle diocese gave permission for the signature drive at member churches. But some churches have decided to opt-out of the Referendum 74 signature drive, fearing it could divide congregations.

"This would be hurtful, harm the pastoral care of our community, possible be divisive," said Tricia Whittman-Todd, the pastoral coordinator at St. Mary's in Seattle, one of the churches opting out.

Seattle's largest Catholic church, St. James, has also declined to participate.

Supporters of R-74 need to gather 120,000 valid signatures by June 6.  St. Mark's in Shoreline is one parish that is participating in the drive.

"The bishop made this request because it's important to him and to me as a Catholic and one of his parishes," said Father W.R. Harris.

The archdiocese said parishes are not required to support the R-74 drive.

In January, Archbishop testified against the same-sex marriage legislation in Olympia. He said, "We recognize that not everyone holds our faith and beliefs, but the universal principles that form the basis for our position are readily discernible by all people. They transcend any particular society, government, or religious community; in fact, they are built into human life itself. The natural structure of human sexuality orders the transmission of human life through man and woman. Because only the union of a man and woman can generate new life, no other human relationship is its equivalent."

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