On Ash Wednesday, local Catholics show support for same-sex marriage

Local members of the Catholic Church made a strong statement supporting same-sex marriage ouside St. Mary’s Cathedral in Portland Wednesday.

On the first day of Lent, Catholic Oregonians for Marriage Equality gathered to demonstrate their belief that no one should be singled out for unfair treatment.

“Treating people differently because of who they are and who they love is discrimination,” said organizer Jackie Yerby.

“I am here today because I love God and I want to do all I can so that all Oregonians can live in a state free from discrimination of any kind,” she added.

Oregon's constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage will be challenged in federal court this spring. And supporters say they have gathered enough signatures to put a measure legalizing same-sex marriage on the ballot.

Members of  Catholic Oregonians for Marriage Equality rallied despite strong opposition to their cause from the Catholic Church.

Last month, Archbishop of Portland Alexander Sample sent a memo to his staff indicating the church will work to defeat any voter initiative legalizing marriage.

“As the chief shepherd of this local flock it is my intention to commit the energies of the Church to help defeat this initiative,” the archbishop wrote.

He also asked staff to make defeating the measure a “top pastoral priority.”