The Huffington Post reports that Churches in Washington state have been reminded that collecting money for a political cause is not permissible. This November will see a ballot measure concerning gay marriage. A Roman Catholic bishops has asked his parishes to have a special collection on behalf of an organization opposed to the state’s equality law.
The state’s Public Disclosure Commission recently learned that Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima sent a letter to pastors in 41 parishes asking them to take up a special collection for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group that is trying to overturn the state’s same-sex marriage law.
A formal complaint, however, was not filed. Lori Anderson, communication and training officer for the state commission, said the reminder was merely precautionary.
“There’s been no formal action. There’s no story here. Preserve Marriage Washington and our partners have done everything within full compliance of the law,” said PMW Deputy Campaign Director Chris Plante.
Anderson explained that any organization — religious or not — cannot serve as an intermediary for a contribution, though it can freely promote a campaign.
“Churches can distribute the envelopes and encourage parishioners to use them, but they can’t be the middleman,” she said, adding that individual contributors have to send the donations in themselves, or someone from the campaign has to be on hand to collect the money.