Opening Prayer In Washington Senate Stirs Marriage Controversy

Jan 14, 2013

On an already tense first day of session in the Washington State Senate, the opening prayer became a source of controversy. It had to do with the issue of same-sex marriage.

Pastor Jon Sanne of the conservative Calvary Chapel in Olympia delivered the prayer Monday. This is what he said about marriage.

“Heal our families, we pray, and strengthen marriage as you’ve ordained it for our good and your glory.”

Some Democrats took immediate offense, including Sen. Ed Murray, the architect of Washington’s new same-sex marriage law. And Democrat Kevin Ranker wove it into his criticism of the new Senate majority made up of 23 Republicans and two breakaway Democrats.

“And even this morning’s prayer invoked language, polarizing language that this institution has moved beyond," Ranker says.

Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler invited the pastor, but didn’t pre-screen the remarks. Schoesler says it was a prayer, not a “political statement.”