DC Archdiocese makes good on ultimadum, closes down foster-care program

Via the Washington Post:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has ended its 80-year-old foster-care program in the District rather than license same-sex couples, the first fallout from a bitter debate over the city’s move to legalize same-sex marriage. Catholic Charities, which runs more than 20 social service programs for the District, transferred its entire foster-care program — 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members — to another provider, the National Center for Children and Families. Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), the D.C. Council member who chairs the Committee on Human Services, said he didn’t know of any problems with the transfer, which happened Feb. 1. In addition to foster care, the center runs programs in Montgomery County and the District for homeless families and victims of domestic violence. The marriage bill, which was approved and signed in December, is expected to become law in the next couple of weeks if it clears a congressional review period.

Catholic Charities, which receives $20 million from the city, had sounded alarms in the run-up to the council vote, saying programs serving tens of thousands of people were in danger. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes same-sex marriage. The church and some experts said the city’s measure has narrower exemptions for religious groups than other same-sex marriage laws across the country, particularly when it comes to requiring benefits for the same-sex partners of employees. City officials knew of no other faith-based groups that said their city contracts were in jeopardy.

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