Same-sex marriage is in the thoughts of the voters in Washington State, who will soon cast their ballots to approve or reject Referendum 74. Proponents insist this law is needed to ensure equality for same-sex couples, however, civil unions already provide homosexual couples all the rights of married couples under Washington law – without redefining marriage. R-74 further claims that religious freedoms will be preserved, yet in every state where marriage has been redefined, the result has been increasing intrusion on parental authority, religious liberty, and freedom of speech and conscience.
Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima has written a thoughtful and eloquent letter about this issue, stating, “R-74… jeopardizes our religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract… No institution or individual could propose that married mothers and fathers provide a singular benefit to children without being accused of discrimination.”
Bishop Tyson also points out that:
“R-74’s perception of marriage is wrong from the start, since it presumes that marriage is simply a matter of what any two consenting adults desire. But this has never been the meaning of marriage, nor has it been the reason why marriage is recognized as essential to the common good. R-74 redefines marriage and therefore pays no heed to the fundamental facts of human life… It ignores the significance of the human body as well as sexual difference and complementarity, understood in their fullness – spiritual, biological, psychological and emotional. R-74 overlooks the basic rights and equality of children, and it dispenses with an appreciation for the unique place of motherhood and fatherhood. As a law, R-74 therefore conditions our society to forget or ignore basic realities of human existence… This is the tragic irony; a law touted as a victory for human rights and equality is actually a loss of civil rights and equality for the most vulnerable among us, children.”
(For the full text of Bishop Tyson's letter, visit the website of the Yakima Diocese)
Marriage is by nature the union of one man and one woman, forever, for children, for family, and for our future. Refuse to redefine it.