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Washington state warns Catholic bishop to stop fund-raising against gay marriage

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The Democratic-controlled Washington Legislature voted this year to legalize same-sex marriage, and Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat and a Catholic, signed the measure into law during in February.

But the law was blocked from taking effect as scheduled in June when opponents submitted a petition for a repeal referendum on the November ballot. Referendum 74, subsequently certified as having collected enough signatures to qualify, asks voters to approve or reject the gay marriage bill enacted in February.

Tyson's letter instructs parish priests not to open the envelopes once they are turned back in, but to place them into a pre-addressed security envelope to be mailed directly to Preserve Marriage, according to local media reports.

"It's not our envelope," Tyson told local television station KIMA-TV. "We're not collecting the money, and we're not taking the money. Preserve Marriage Washington is doing that. We're going to follow the state law."

But Anderson said she was not swayed.

"That can't happen under our state law," she told Reuters. "It doesn't matter if they haven't looked at the contributions."

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