Rantz Update: WA Catholic Conference backtracks from support of minors seeking gender reassignment

Jun 29, 2023, 5:30 PM | Updated: 6:07 pm


An activist confronts Jonathan Choe in Lacey outside an event to gather signatures for R-101. The activists gather to try to intimidate voters away from signing the referendum. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Choe)

(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Choe)

Update 3:15 p.m. 6/29:

After not having a position on Referendum 101, which would overturn Senate Bill 5599 — a bill that supports youth and young adults seeking protected health care services including gender-reaffirming surgery — the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) updated its position to support Referendum 101.

“We thank the faithful who have contacted us and indicated their willingness to take action to support Referendum 101,” WSCC wrote in a prepared statement. “We appreciate their advocacy for the common good.”

Original Story:

The WSCC is helping to stymie an effort to stop minors from receiving abortions or gender reassignment without parental consent. This effectively means they’re helping minors seeking either medical interventions.

In a letter to Washington pastors, the WSCC announced it’s not taking a position on Referendum 101. The voter-initiated referendum would overturn SB 5599, which allows the state to harbor runaways without telling parents where their minor children are located, so long as the minor is seeking an abortion or so-called gender-affirming care. In Washington state, they may receive either without parental consent.

The WSCC’s “no position” stance means parishes may not collect signatures to put R-101 on the ballot. Their reason is nonsensical, leaving one lawmaker alleging the WSCC is intentionally trying to slow the referendum’s momentum.

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WSCC’s reasoning is nonsensical

The WSCC, the lobbying arm for the Catholic Bishops of Washington, opposed SB 5599. But now the organization is getting in the way of families trying to stop it.

“The WSCC’s current assessment is that the campaign to get Referendum 101 on the ballot is too far behind in collecting signatures and obtaining needed funding for a successful effort. The referendum is not likely to both make it on the ballot and pass in November’s election,” WSCC Executive Director Mario Villanueva wrote to pastors on June 15.

While Villanueva says the WSCC “supports individual parishioners signing the petition,” they say that because it’s “unlikely to be successful, we are not actively encouraging parishes to take action on this referendum.”

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A cowardly response

Villanueva does not explain why he assumes R-101 proponents will fail to collect enough signatures by the July 15 deadline, though 200,000 is a heavy lift for any organization. It’s made harder by transgender activists and Antifa extremists who have sought to stop people from signing the petition.

The uphill battle for signatures is precisely why the WSCC should encourage signature gathering at parishes: to make the goal more attainable.

Why wouldn’t the WSCC want to help? Villanueva did not respond to a Sunday email requesting comment. But State Rep. Travis Couture (R-Allyn) didn’t hold back when he saw the letter.

Pushing for R-101

Couture pushed hard to defeat SB 5599 after Democrats lied about the bill’s content. He was upset that the WSCC would send such a letter.

“This letter from the Washington State Catholic Conference is a transparent attempt at slowing the growing momentum of the R-101 campaign,” Couture told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “Churches and Parishes across Washington are gathering signatures to overturn SB 5599 and protect parental rights at breakneck speed, and I recommend they continue to do so despite this letter.”

While Democrats claimed SB 5599 was meant to protect kids running away from abusive homes, the language of the bill does not say a child must even hint that they’re running away from abuse. They are allowed to seek protection solely to seek abortions or transgender healthcare. It’s why Democrats rejected an amendment stating the legislation is meant to protect abused kids.

The bill’s main proponents Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett) and Rep. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center) went so far as to lie about the exact kind of “healthcare” permissible under their bill. Both implied surgery is not allowed for trans youth as a way to make their bill less extreme. And their editorial in a local newspaper had to be corrected when they claimed it was about protecting abused kids.

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R-101 lets voters decide

SB 5599 sailed through the Senate and House because Democrats were unanimous in their desire to weaken parental rights. Local media offered little to no coverage of the bill, allowing Democrats to lie about the intent. Now, R-101 allows voters to decide if they want Democrat extremists in the state to take away the rights of parents in order to give children abortions or to remove a young girl’s breasts.

“The option to sign a referendum is a crucial part of our democracy and citizens’ right to legislate in the Washington State Constitution, and the Catholic Conference should reverse this stance to respect the partitioner’s right to weigh in at important community gathering places such as their parishes,” Couture said.

The WSCC shouldn’t stand in the way. The reason they’re making this harder is absurd and it seems like they’re selling families out, just like the Democrats did.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). He is the author of the book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our CitiesSubscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz Update: WA Catholic Conference backtracks from support of minors seeking gender reassignment