Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
November 12, 2012
The recent debate over whether the State of Washington should change the definition of marriage to include same sex couples demonstrated that hotly contested issues can be argued with respect and civility. While there were a few regrettable instances of demeaning language towards homosexual people and charges of bigotry against opponents of Referendum 74, these were the exception. The debate also provided Catholic leaders the opportunity to review with the people we serve our core beliefs about marriage and to raise awareness about how our faith offers a vision of marriage and family life that enriches our communities and society at large.
The very close margin approving Referendum 74, indicates that acceptance of the redefinition of marriage is troubling to a significant number of citizens. One only needs to look at the map showing how citizens voted by region to conclude that there are widespread concerns about what approval will now mean.
There is one major unresolved issue. The State has a responsibility to protect and support parents who marry and take on the risks and responsibilities of bringing children into the world. Does the State now intend to walk away from its historic role of upholding the unique contribution which a man and woman make to society when they marry and generate new life, as only they can, thereby continuing the human race? If not, what does it intend to do in this regard?
As the Catholic Church joins with others in raising this and other related issues, we will do so motivated by a concern for the promotion of the common good, which is also at the heart of our advocacy on behalf of the poor, the immigrant, the unborn, the sick, the elderly and the person on death row. The debate on all of these issues continues. It is my fervent prayer that as we engage these issues, which touch deeply held beliefs, we will do so with the civility and respect which we owe each other as fellow citizens.
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