Monday, September 03, 2012

Pro-marriage Catholics Break Law in Washington?

Federal IRS regulations allow tax-exempt organizations to advocate issues, such as urging citizens to vote consistent with church teaching, but the liberal mainstream media has inaccurately reported that the Washington state government has ruled that the Catholic church is outlawed from enabling parishioners to donate money to overturn the legislature's new law permitting same-sex "marriage." When pressed, Washington state officials clarified how the church is to handle contributions to issues campaigns.

For background, read
Washington Seventh State for Same-sex 'Marriage'

-- From "Catholic churches can't collect donations to overturn gay marriage law, Washington state rules" by The Associated Press 8/28/12

Last week, Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson sent a letter to pastors in 41 parishes of the Yakima Diocese asking them to announce a special collection that would go to Preserve Marriage Washington, which is fighting the same-sex marriage law that was passed earlier this year.

The diocese's chief of staff, Monsignor Robert Siler, said Tuesday . . . "As far as I know, the procedures we sent to the parishes meet the requirement of state law," he said, noting that the envelopes are preaddressed to the campaign.

"We're not collecting and counting money," he said. "We're just collecting envelopes and forwarding them."

But Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the state's Public Disclosure Commission, says no organization can be an intermediary for a contribution. She says the church can hand out envelopes, but either a member of Preserve Washington has to be on hand to collect them or parishioners must send them in individually.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Preserve Marriage site advises bundled donations, state says churches can't be intermediaries" by Rachel La Corte, Associated Press 8/30/12

The group seeking to overturn Washington's gay marriage law has been advising churches to take special collections and forward them to the campaign . . . Preserve Marriage Washington's website includes a "church tools" section, where it asks churches to collect "all envelopes from donors, put them in a larger mailing envelope, put your church name and return address on the mailing envelopes and send it via regular U.S. mail" to the campaign.

Christopher Plante, deputy campaign manager for Preserve Marriage, said he was confident that the campaign's fundraising process was "completely compliant with the PDC's rules."

"The PDC has in no way communicated with the Catholic church, or with Preserve Marriage Washington," he said. "We are confident that our legally reviewed materials comply with all of Washington state's campaign finance requirements."

He noted that the campaign has thousands of volunteers across the state, so it would have no problem collecting the donations if that was what was ultimately required.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Story claiming Wash. state ruled against Church marriage collections ‘misleading,’ official says" by Kathleen Gilbert, 8/31/12

. . . when Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, was asked whether the agency had ruled against the Catholic Church’s planned collection, she responded, “Oh gosh, no.”

“The [mainstream media] headline is kind of misleading, in my opinion,” said Anderson, the same official cited in the AP’s original report. Anderson told on Friday that the law means no one collecting from the pews can be employed or recruited by the Catholic Church. “Whoever’s doing that has to be an individual person,” such as a volunteer for Protect Marriage, she said.

That, according to the executive director of the Washington state Catholic Conference, was the plan all along.

Financially, Washington’s traditional marriage [fundraising] effort currently lags behind its opponents by more than a 12-to-1 ratio, with Washington United for Marriage garnerning over $6 million so far.

David Hains, communications director for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte [North Carolina], said “No bishop or issue can support say a candidate, but they can do things to support issues,” he said. “Having collections to support issues is nothing new in the Church.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.