Seattle Catholics have raised thousands of dollars for an election-season campaign and plan to run ads showing that patrons of the nation's largest church do, in fact, support marriage equality for gay couples. It's a direct affront to their superior, Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who has been trying to force local Catholics to comply with his anti-gay-rights agenda since January.
Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington State, a group run by parishioners in Sartain's own archdiocese, issued a statement today lamenting that signatures were submitted to put Washington State's same-sex-marriage law on the ballot for a possible repeal. The group says it intends to publish the names of over 1,000 Catholics who support marriage equality and run newspaper ads during election season.
“We are saddened that the Seattle bishops and the Washington State Catholic Conference have publicly opposed civil marriage for citizens who wish to join together in civil marriage,” says spokeswoman Barbara Guzzo in a statement today. “This is contrary to Catholic values of human dignity and inclusion of all God’s children in the life of our communities."
Among his tactics, Sartain has forced priests in Western Washington to print anti-gay-marriage statements in their bulletins, invited anti-gay activists to petition for Referendum 74 inside local churches, and he's used the platform of the state's Catholic Conference (featuring the logo for Catholic Community Services, a nonprofit charity) to oppose the same-sex marriage law.
Archbishop Sartain has vowed to commit resources of the Archdiocese of Seattle into the fall effort to overturn the state's marriage-equality law. Meanwhile, he's at the center of another national controversy: Sartain is the leading a campaign designed to force thousands of US nuns to rewrite their bylaws—which allegedly contain "radical feminist themes"—and make them stop focusing on poverty and start working to ban contraception and gay rights.
In response to Sartain, the new political action committee has raised $3,672, according records held by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. Further, vigils have protested near Sartain's office once a week for the past month.
Put simply: Archbishop Sartain is the biggest right-wing threat in Seattle. And thank God, his own church is trying to put him in check. They're trying to raise $100,000. You can donate right here.