Monday, January 30, 2012

Washington archbishop testifies against state's 'gay marriage' bill

A Washington state bill that would recognize same-sex “marriage” poses a “grave challenge” to the common good, Archbishop of Seattle J. Peter Sartain warned.

The principles of marriage are “built into human life itself,” he told the state Senate’s Government Operations, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee on Jan. 23.

Washington state's Senate may have enough votes to soon pass legislation recognizing “gay marriage,” the Associated Press reported.

The bill is also believed to have enough support in the House and Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Catholic Democrat, has said she will sign it into law.

In his remarks, however, Archbishop Sartain said that because “only the union of a man and woman can generate new life,” no “other human relationship is its equivalent.”

The attempt to redefine marriage, then, “ignores the origin, purpose and value of marriage to individuals, families, and society,” he underscored.

Changing the definition of marriage would also mean there would be “no special laws to support and recognize the irreplaceable contribution that these married couples make to society and to the common good by bringing to life the next generation.”

“Marriage makes a contribution to the common good of society unlike any other relationship, through the procreation, rearing and education of children,” he said. “I urge you to uphold the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Six other U.S. states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex unions as marriages.

The legislation, S.B. 6239, may require religious organization to provide accommodations, facilities, and services for the solemnization or celebration of same-sex “marriages,” if the organizations offer marriage services to the public for a fee.

The provision could have a financial impact upon churches which rent out facilities for marriages but have religious and moral objections to same-sex unions.

In a statement earlier this month, the Catholic bishops of Washington state said that the proposed legislation would add to “the forces already undermining family life today.”