In light of Washington’s approval of Referendum 74, which legalized
same-sex marriage in the state, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has issued a “policy
refresher” for local Church leaders touching on some implications of the
new law. The “specific archdiocesan policies based on canon law” are:
- No priest or deacon or lay minister may officiate at a
- No church facility or school facility may be offered
for such an event, even if it is to be witnessed by a non-Catholic
minister or civil official.
- No church facility or school facility may be used for a
reception after such an event.
- No church ministers, ordained or lay, may offer
"wedding preparation" for such couples.
Over at In the Light of the Law, canonist Edward Peters
analyzes each of these policies, concluding, “Seattle’s
got it right.”
Less commented upon than the same-sex marriage policies is
an unrelated policy spelled out at the end of the archdiocesan “refresher”since
last month’s election also saw the legalization of marijuana in Washington,
Archbishop Sartain makes one other policy clear:
is still illegal under federal law and it is still unclear how this new state
law will be treated by federal authorities," Archbishop Sartain noted. The
refresher stated that "until new policy is promulgated, marijuana, like
alcohol, will be prohibited on parish property. The only exception to this
policy pertains to alcohol at official pastor-approved parish events at which
alcoholic beverages are served."