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More religious support for marriage equality in Washington and Wales

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

I wrote last week about two major Catholic churches in Seattle whose religious leaders had chosen not to collect signatures for an anti-marriage equality referendum campaign.  This Sunday, the Rev. Tim Clark announced that he had made a similar decision for his parish, Seattle’s Our Lady of the Lake, and his church gave him a standing ovation.

Clark’s parish becomes the sixth to oppose signature-gatheirng efforts, despite a call from Washington’s archbishop, J. Peter Sartain, for the state’s Catholics to support Referendum 74, the ballot measure that would repeal the state’s recently-passed marriage equality law.  Speaking to the blog seattlepi, Rev. Clark said:

In conscience, I could not allow signatures to be gathered, to allow the faith to be politicized in this way.  What troubles me is the message this whole approach sends which I find discriminatory and insensitive.  To follow through with his wishes would be hurtful, divisive and a countersign to what we are trying to foster in this Catholic community.

I deeply believe, and say this with boldness, that this approach is not in the mind of Christ.

In another gesture of religious support for marriage equality, this one from the other side of the Atlantic, Dr. Barry Morgan, the Archbishop of Wales, announced his support for the issue today during his presidential address to the Church of Wales’s Governing Body.  “All life-long committed relationships,” Morgan told his peers, “deserve the welcome, pastoral care and support of the Church.”

Archbishop Morgan’s comments went beyond a simple declaration of support for marriage equality and addressed LGBT rights in general.  In light of the UK government’s recent explorations into the possibility of enacting civil marriage equality, Morgan expressed concern that the discussion might make gays and lesbians feel like the church is “uncaring and unsympathetic.”

To be sure, there is much work to be done bridging the gap between religion and LGBT advocacy.  Still, that gap is slowly but surely getting narrower and narrower.  We’re on the path to making marriage equality a non-partisan issue.  Hopefully, we will soon make it a non-denominational one as well.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  April 18, 2012 at 8:25 am


  • 2. grod  |  April 18, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks for the update on Our Lady of the Lake. The 'ovation' speaks volumes. To keep the 6 churches in perspective, there are 148 parishes in the archdiocese. Clark is grateful that Archbishop Peter Sartain did leave the decision whether or not to gather signatures to the discretion of pastoral leaders. Re: non-catholics, at least 1,500 churches in the state have agreed to take petitions for their churches… Elsewhere, in a letter to priests of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Archbishop John Nienstedt said there ought not to be public dissent from any priest or deacon in the archdiocese on 'marriage' . The archbishop's statement sounds a lot like that made earlier this year by Washington state’s archbishop Sartain – “If any have personal reservations, I do not wish that they be shared publicly."

  • 3. TheDude  |  April 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Could someone please explain how the churches taking the petitions to collect signatures are still entitled to tax-exempt status? This whole issue has been fuzzy to me since the original Prop 8 vote and I just can't wrap my head around it.

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