Q13 FOX News reporter
9:01 PM EDT, April 12, 2012
Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain is encouraging Catholics to gather signatures and sign petitions to overturn the state's new gay marriage law.
Greg Magnoni, communications director for the Archdiocese of Seattle, said, “This is an issue campaign. It is not a candidate campaign so we are allowed to participate in issue campaigns, especially when they have a strong moral dimension like this one does.
"In our opinion," he said, "the redefinition of marriage is a far-reaching decision and it should be placed on the ballot for the voters to decide."
Still, the move is not sitting well with all of the followers.
In fact, Seattle’s St. James Cathedral – the home of the Seattle Archdiocese -- is not taking part in the petition drive. The Rev. Michael Ryan, the pastor of St. James, said the petition drive is just too devisive to bring into the church.
At least five churches, including St. Mary's on Beacon Hill, are refusing to take part. The pastoral leader of St. Mary's, Tricia Wittman-Todd, said church members have a lot of different views when it comes to gay marriage.
“One of the biggest tenets of the church is to be inclusive and to be welcoming, and we were concerned that this would put people off and make people feel like they weren`t welcome,” she said.
Magnoni said there are plenty of churches in the Seattle Archdiocese that will take part in the petition drive, adding that this is only a suggestion from the archbishop, not an order, and that the archbishop respects parishes if they decide not to take part.
Still, Barbara Guzzo, the organizer of Catholics for Marriage Equality in Washington, a group opposing the church`s efforts to gather signatures, she`s happy to see that several parishes are choosing not to take part.
“It`s about state civil law, who can be married, and I don`t think the church needs to be, or should be, involved in that,” she said.
The opponents of gay marriage will need signatures of at least 120,000 registered voters on their peititions to get Referendum 74 on the ballot to overturn the gay marriage law.
The Washington Legislature approved the same-sex marriage bill in February, and the governor signed it into law.