63 former priests defy church on same-sex marriage in Washington

A group of former Catholic clergy with a combined service to the church of more than 800 years has criticized efforts by Washington bishops to interfere in the debate on marriage equality in the US state

63 former priests defy church on same-sex marriage in Washington
13 October 2012

A group of 63 former Catholic priests have released a statement calling on the church to butt out of the debate over same-sex marriage in Washington state, with voters poised to vote on the issue in November.

‘We feel the bishops are abusing their power in attempting to direct Catholics on how to vote on this civil matter and impose their position on all citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic,’ the former priests said in a joint statement on Monday.

‘We are uneasy with the aggressive efforts of Catholic bishops to oppose [efforts to legalize same-sex marriage] and want to support the 71 percent of Catholics … who support civil marriage for gays as a valid Catholic position.’

Washington state lawmakers have already voted to pass a marriage equality bill which was signed into law by Democratic State Governor Christine Gregoire, herself a Catholic, in February this year.

But the law will not take effect until after November elections after opponents organized enough signatures to force a referendum on the issue.

Catholic bishops in Washington state have been using online videos and pastoral letters to appeal to parishioners to vote against same-sex marriage, and clergy have been warned by state regulators to ensure they conform with state campaign finance laws in opposing the reform after Yakima Diocese Bishop Joseph Tyson (pictured) and others encouraged pastors to hand out and collect donation envelopes for the campaign against same-sex marriage.

However the group of former Catholic priests hope their statement will show that there were a diversity of views within the church on the issue.

‘Progressive-thinking Catholics need the reassurance that there is more than one authentic Catholic position,’ former Catholic priest Patrick Callahan told the Reuters news agency.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Gay California couple fights to stay together against deportation

A gay couple in San Francisco is challenging the federal marriage law that disregards same-sex unions in a bid to stay together in the U.S.
This photography company's response to losing clients due to his support of gay marriage is amazing
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

The truth about the Will & Grace stage spinoff that almost was

Leslie Jordan says stage musical was to focus on Megan Mullally's lushy Karen Walker character
No thumbnail available

'People are people are people,' says Asia's human rights defender

Gay Star News talks to Asia's deputy director of Human Rights Watch, who is heavily involved in defending the rights of LGBT people in the region
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Bristol backs Pride despite Olympic cash rush

Bristol Pride in south west England overcomes money struggles to return this summer
No thumbnail available

Texas Governor Rick Perry admits: 'I stepped right in it'

Perry is being widely criticized and ridiculed for comparing homosexuality to alcoholism
No thumbnail available

Billy Crystal doesn't understand flap over his comments that gay scenes on TV go too far

' ... When I feel it’s “You’re going to like my lifestyle,” no matter what it is, I’m going to have a problem'
No thumbnail available

Happy couples begin getting married in many parts of Alabama - but not all

There are still some county courthouses turning away couples due to order from state's defiant supreme court justice