Engaging in political activity is grounds for removing non-profit status from secular organizations. Why are churches allowed to get away with it?
April 7, 2012
SEATTLE — The two bishops of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle said they will call on parishioners to collect signatures in support of Referendum 74, a ballot measure aimed at overturning the recently passed marriage equality law in Washington state.
In a letter to the archdiocese, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo described the issue as “critically important” and said information on the signature drive is being sent to pastors throughout the Western Washington diocese, reported the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In their letter, the bishops specifically deny that refusing marriage to same-sex couples equates to discrimination — an argument made by Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Catholic, in arguing for marriage equality.
“Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination,” the bishops claim. “Marriage can only be between a man and a woman because of its unique ends, purpose and place in society. The word ‘marriage’ isn’t simply a label that can be attached to different types of relationships.
“Instead ‘marriage’ reflects a deep reality — the reality of the unique, fruitful, lifelong union that is only possible between a man and a woman. There is nothing else like it, and it can’t be defined or made into something that it isn’t.”
State Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), an openly gay, Catholic lawmaker who sponsored the same-sex marriage bill, described the bishops’ efforts as “reprehensible.”