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 same-sex “marriage.”
- 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:
“Marijuana 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.”
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