Archdiocese of DC vows to eliminate social services if marriage enfranchisement passes

Via Washington Post:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city.

“If the city requires this, we can’t do it,” Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. “The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that’s really a problem.”

Surprisingly, it doesn’t look like the council is backing down:

Several D.C. Council members said the Catholic Church is trying to erode the city’s long-standing laws protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination…

The church’s influence seems limited. In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as “somewhat childish.” Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city’s relationship with the church than give in to its demands.

“They don’t represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure,” said Catania, the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill and the chairman of the Health Committee.

I’m trying to remember the last time an American political actor or institution so explicitly rebuffed an ecclesiastic authority, to the risk of alienating religious voters. I’m not sure it’s ever happpened.

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One Response

  1. It is good to see christians spreading the love of Jesus and God and all that other bullshit they like to spew out their mouths.

    At least the politicians seem to understand that the church there is full of shit. Hopefully that will be a growing trend.

    Bento: I agree, I can’t remember the last time a politician told an ecclesiastic authority to sit down and shut up. It would be nice if that was a growing trend as well.

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