I am a frequent visitor to Walla Walla because our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren live there. I read the Union-Bulletin whenever I visit and was very grateful to see your endorsement of Referendum 74.
Many Catholics in Walla Walla and around the state are deeply troubled by the actions of Washington state Catholic bishops regarding R-74. Over the last several months, our bishops have asked pastors to collect signatures to get the referendum on the ballot; speak out against its approval in their churches; include bulletin inserts that oppose the referendum; and even collect donations during Masses for Preserve Marriage Washington, the anti-Referendum 74 campaign.
Sadly, our bishops are promoting fear and division within our own communities.
Not all Catholics agree with the bishops on this matter. Polls show the majority of Catholics in Washington State will vote to approve R-74 in November.
Catholics support R-74 because it upholds the Gospel message that Jesus gave us: To love and treat each other with respect and equal value.
Jesus Himself did not distinguish among people based on their class, sex or social status. Because of this, Catholic support of marriage equality is stronger than any other Christian faith and is growing each year. More than three-quarters of young adult Catholics support marriage equality.
Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington includes Catholics from all over Washington state. We are rooted in the Gospel values of Jesus and Catholic social teaching. We take seriously the Catholic Church's teachings on the Primacy of Conscience. As Catholics, we are called to follow our conscience based on Scripture, tradition and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We know our responsibility is to vote according to our own conscience. No one can tell us how we must vote. The new marriage equality law does not redefine marriage. Marriage for all couples will continue to be about commitment, love, fidelity and family.
The approval of R-74 will expand the protection of civil marriage to all Washington families. Catholic religious freedom is absolutely protected by R-74.
It explicitly allows all faith leaders complete freedom to follow their conscience and the practices of their denominations.
We know tthe majority of Catholics in Washington state will vote to support R-74.
Why? Because Jesus and Catholic social teaching urge us to love all our neighbors and to seek the common good. The civilly recognized marriages of all who love each other will contribute to the common good of us all.