Catholic churches divided on gay marriage petitions

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by TONYA MOSLEY / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 15, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 15 at 6:02 PM

SHORELINE, Wash. - Parishioners at St. Mark's Catholic Church received a plea on Sunday, in the form of a letter from the Archbishop of Seattle - asking for support of Referendum 74, an effort to repeal gay marriage.

"I don't think marriage is political," said Pastor W.R. Harris. "So I think that the church has to speak, if marriage is somehow under attack."

Across town at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Pastor Michael Ryan says there will be no talk of petition signing.

"I can't remember ever doing it, I've been a priest for 45 years," he said.

St. James is one of at least three Catholic churches stepping away from the issue.

"We have a lot of gay and lesbian people here, we have many people who have great support and understanding," said Ryan.

It is a decision that has now divided some Catholics.

"That's very sad because if you are Catholic and you feel this way what are you doing in the Catholic church?" said St. Mark parishioner Georgina Guido.

Father Ryan says however, he believes this decision is the best one for his church community.

"In this case it would have been hurtful and divisive," he said.

Supporters of Referendum 74 need to collect 120,000 signatures by June 6. St. Marks will begin collecting them next weekend.

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