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Bishop Gene Robinson

(Photo credit: Minnesota Public Radio)

By Jeff Walton

Much like their counterparts in North Carolina earlier this year, Roman Catholic and Episcopal Church bishops in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington State are facing off on opposite sides of marriage ballot measures.

In Maryland, Maine and Washington, voters are being asked to weigh in on referendums that would legalize same-sex marriage in those states. Minnesota voters are considering an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Unlike in North Carolina, where traditional marriage advocates successfully argued their case to a decisive result, activists in the four states voting November 6 are expecting far closer contests in states that are considered more socially liberal.

Washington State

Enacting same-sex marriage is “a conservative proposal” consistent with basic Christian teaching and the Christian life, Episcopal Bishop Greg Rickel argued in a statement released at a September news conference held at a Seattle Episcopal parish in support of Referendum 74.

Rickel, whose Olympia diocese encompasses Western Washington, has been supportive of same-sex blessings within his own denomination, having voted at Episcopal General Convention in July to approve a “provisional” rite for same-sex couples.

“I am for it,” Rickel endorsed in his statement about the same-sex marriage referendum. “I hope we will finally make way for this to happen, not only in our society, …”

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