Churches can’t collect donations from parishioners to overturn gay marriage

OLYMPIA — The state’s campaign finance watchdog says the state’s Catholic churches can’t collect donations from parishioners for the campaign seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.

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 that the expected collection date was Sept. 8-9.

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.

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