Faith Leaders Across Washington Gather To Endorse Referendum 74, and Support Bipartisan Marriage Law

SEATTLE: Today, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, leaders representing several faith traditions, including Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, Catholic and Protestant denominations, announced that nearly 300 faith leaders and organizations statewide have endorsed Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the broad coalition working to approve Referendum 74 and defend the state’s bipartisan marriage law.

Clergy from 15 different faith traditions and congregations spoke of their support for Referendum 74. The leaders represent tens of thousands of parishioners, congregants and members from across Washington, many of whom are now volunteering for WUM on phone banks, collecting pledge cards, and talking to their family and friends about the need to approve R74.

“We’re proud that Washington’s faith community has been at the forefront of supporting the freedom to marry and our marriage law,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk. “They understand – perhaps better than anyone – that marriage is about love and commitment and creating a special bond through good times and bad that will last a lifetime.”

“Faith organizations and faith leaders urge voters to Approve Referendum 74 because we believe love is at the heart of who we are and how we are to treat each other,” said Rabbi Jim Mirel of Bellevue’s Temple B’nai Torah who led the press conference.  “As God’s creation, we seek to love as we have been loved. Approving Referendum 74, in fact doing justice and only justice, means all faithful, committed, couples will have the freedom to marry, and love one another for the rest of their lives.”

“Ref. 74 allows for religious freedom in stating that each denomination, church, and clergy can follow their own conscience when it comes to enactment, and does not force anyone to disregard their own beliefs on this issue,” said Bishop Grant Hagiya, Resident Bishop of the Greater Northwest Area, United Methodist Church, Des Moines. “I believe that it is crafted in way that allows for the deepest expression of our democratic and Christian ethos.”

Excerpts from the remarks of other faith leaders who spoke follow.  A complete set of statements is available here:

Rev. Brandon Duran, Associate Pastor, Plymouth Church UCC, Seattle:

“As a pastor steeped in the Christian faith, with a love for the teachings of the Bible, I wholeheartedly support marriage equality and am proud to serve a congregation that endorses it as well.”

Reverend Tom Kidd, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Bellevue:

“God’s purpose for us is to love one another. We should treat everyone as we want to be treated, and not judge. We should protect religious freedom and allow committed same-sex couples to marry.  Referendum 74 does both.”

Barbara Guzzo, Spokesperson for Catholics for Marriage Equality:

“As faithful Catholics we are bound to educate our conscience through prayer, reading of the scriptures, and listening to the Holy Spirit who continues to speak in our midst.  Having done this, I, along with the majority of Catholics in WA State, believe in marriage equality.”