Yakima, WASH.--Catholics who attended mass this weekend throughout the Diocese Of Yakima heard a message from Bishop Tyson. The Bishop encouraged parishioners to value marriage between a man and a woman and vote down Referendum 74.
If passed, Referendum 74 would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
"R-74 is not about civil rights," said Bishop Tyson. "It expands no ones rights. It actually diminishes the rights of children and a variety of rights to teach and uplift marriage between and a woman."
Carol Hilzendeger said, "I thought it was a really good message. I don't think anybody thought about bringing it back to the beginning, the real beginning."
John Klingele said, "I think people received it well. They shouldn't be surprised by it because it's been teaching of the church for many eons."
A spokesperson for Equal Rights Washington said they've seen support from many faith traditions in the state, but they're upset to see this message being delivered.
"We are saddened that Roman Catholic Bishops in Washington have been urging parishioners to reject R-74," said Josh Friedes of Equal Rights Washington.
Bishop Tyson said the Diocese Of Yakima is asserting their constitutional right to have their proposal heard.
"Marriage is anchored in children so this is really about how children come into the world," said Bishop Tyson.
Friedes said, "It is inappropriate to deny just one class of people, that is gay and lesbian people the freedom to marry--recognizing that it is perfectly fine if people marry when they are old or perfectly fine if people marry and don't have children."
Delivering these messages and distributing written content is not a violation of separation of church and state.
Friedes said churches cannot endorse specific candidates, but they can be lobbyists for a bill.