Battle lines are being drawn in the state of Washington regarding a proposed same-sex marriage bill that will be deliberated next week, with the state’s bishops leading the charge against the legislation.
CNA/EWTN News is reporting that 23 senators introduced legislation on January 13 that would grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Governor Christine Gregoire, a Catholic Democrat, requested the bill, which will require 25 votes to pass the Senate.
The state’s bishop’s conference has taken an aggressive stand against the bill, issuing a letter to all Catholics encouraging them to contact state legislators and urge them to keep marriage defined as between one man and one woman.
Entitled “Marriage and the Common Good,” the letter stresses that the “stability of society depends on the stability of family life in which a man and a woman conceive and nurture new life.”
Civil recognition of marriage as between one man and one woman has given “countless generations of children the incomparable benefit of a loving mother and father committed to one another in a lifelong union,” the letter states.
Changing the legal definition of marriage means there are no special laws to support and recognize this contribution, they said.
The bill’s chief sponsor, State Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), who is currently in a 20- year same-sex relationship, criticized the bishops’ position in remarks to the Associated Press.
“My first reaction, as a practicing Catholic, is that this is very hurtful,” he said.
Joseph Backholm, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, sided with the bishops, saying said that the “idea that there is no difference between a heterosexual relationship and a homosexual relationship and that the law should recognize no difference, assumes there is no difference between men and women.”
He added: “This would be the state taking a position and saying ‘We will no longer encourage arrangements that will give children both a mother and father.”
Backholm expects thousands to show up to show their opposition at the bill’s first public hearing, which is scheduled for Monday, January 23.
Even though the bill is expected to pass in the Democratic controlled house, it does not have the 25 votes necessary for passage in the senate.
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