California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday will impose an indefinite moratorium on carrying out the death penalty, arguing that the cost, finality and racial imbalance among death-row inmates make the punishment immoral and a public policy “failure,” according to planned remarks released by his office.

Newsom will suspend the practice through an executive order that will give a reprieve from execution — though not release — to California’s 737 death row inmates, about a quarter of the nation’s population awaiting capital punishment. The order will also annul California’s lethal injection protocol and close the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison, where the state’s most notorious criminals have been put to death.

Newsom, who took office in January after serving eight years as the state’s lieutenant governor, has long opposed the death penalty. He is Catholic, and his faith has sometimes guided his policy decisions, including his long-standing opposition to capital punishment.

He also has gone against the Catholic Church on other policy matters, most notably as a champion of same-sex marriage as San Francisco’s mayor and through his time in state office.

Full story at The Washington Post.