04/18/2012 02:11 pm ET

Rev. Tim Clark Applauded For Marriage Equality Stance

A Catholic priest in Washington got a standing ovation Sunday when he announced to his congregation that the parish would not be joining an effort to reverse the state's new marriage equality law, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Rev. Tim Clark made his parish the sixth in Seattle to condemn Referendum 74, a petition drive to repeal same-sex marriage that has been pushed upon priests by Archbishop Peter Sartain. Clark wrote in an email to the Post-Intelligencer:

I am happy to report that Our Lady of the Lake parishioners have been overwhelmingly and, thus far, unanimously supportive of the decision I made NOT to gather signatures in support of this Referendum.

The standing ovation experienced during one of the Masses says less about me and much more about the health of this parish. I only wished the archbishop could have experienced the sustained applause - the ‘sensus fidelium’ - of the people. He needs to listen to this ‘voice.’ That is my prayer.

Another Seattle priest rejected the referendum campaign because it could "prove hurtful and seriously divisive in our community," according to the National Catholic Reporter. Fr. Michael G. Ryan wrote in an email to the outlet that he was surprised how little opposition his decision generated:

I decided to take a preemptive strike by sending out my email (April 11) thinking that many of my parishioners would either boycott Mass this coming Sunday or that they would arrive in a white heat. The tone of my email was low-key and anything but inflammatory. I have received 115 responses to it -- when none were required or even expected! -- and fully 110 of them have been strongly supportive of my decision. And I mean strongly supportive!

In February, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law a bill that legalizes same-sex marriage when it takes effect June 7. Referendum 74 must get about 120,000 signatures by June 6 to be placed on the ballot in November.