Catholic Church Threatens to End Social Services in DC if Gay Marriage is Approved


Washington, DC
has joined several other states in its quest for same-sex marriage. The DC
Council voted 11 to 2 in favor of same-sex marriage on December 1st. According
to DC Law, they must vote a second time on December 15th and then the bill goes
to Capitol Hill for Congressional review. Congress then has 30 days
to vote on it, or it becomes law by default.


When
news of the impending vote came out in early November, the
Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, DC threatened to end all social
service contracts that Catholic Charities has with the city if the same-sex
marriage bill becomes law. They don’t want to pay spousal benefits to the
partners of their gay and lesbian employees. Neither do they want to allow
gay or lesbian couples to adopt children through their adoption services. All
in all, the Catholic church doesn’t want to honor same-sex marriage rights
in any way, shape, form or fashion. As a church, they are entitled to their
opinion and their stance on same-sex marriage.

However,
Catholic Charities is not just the social service branch of the Catholic
Church. It is also a non-profit which receives funding from the DC Government.
Churches don’t have to perform same-sex marriages or allow them to be performed
in their space. But businesses may not discriminate against the LGBT
community. Therefore, the crux of the issue is whether Catholic
Charities should be allowed to assert its position as a branch of the
Catholic Church and get a special exemption that doesn’t require them to honor
same-sex marriage rights or if they should be treated as a business and not be
allowed to discriminate against gays and lesbians, pedophile priests
notwithstanding.

The
Catholic Church is fighting an inward battle with two of its own tenets being
pitted against each other — caring for the needy vs. being against same-sex
marriage. If they remain under contract with the city to deliver
social services, they’ll have to recognize and honor gay marriage. If they end
their social service contracts with the city, then many of Catholic Charities’
programs wouldn’t have enough funding to remain operational. In essence, they
would be letting down the 68,000 poor Washingtonians that they serve, of which
2,000 are homeless people seeking shelter. The loss of 2,000 shelter beds
during hypothermia could be catastrophic for DC’s 6,000 plus homeless people.
That said, which is the lesser of two evils — accommodating a few gays and
lesbians while providing for 68,000 needy people or leaving all of
those needy people high and dry for the sake of making a statement against gay
marriage? The fact of the matter is that, short of making a here-to-now
unmentioned compromise, the church would need to forgo one of its tenets in
order to support the other. We’ll know by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2010
which way they went. Let’s hope that they make the right choice.

My
fellow homeless advocates and I will continue to raise awareness
on the issue in hopes of instilling some sympathy in the hearts of
the affluent for those who are less fortunate. Let’s keep on keepin’ on!

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  • dominickj

    The Catholic church tried to do this recently about abortion and the Senate said NO. We can not and must not allow the Catholic church or any other Religious Right organization/group be allowed to write legislation or demand anything from our goverment.. I thanked our Senate for saying no to their meddling into writiing out abortion rights for women in the new health care plan and NOW Government should let them know Marriage between to consulting adults, no matter what their sexual orientation is, IS a civil right!! AND they need to mind their own business.

  • waterjoe

    The problem is that the choices are the creation of the District. The District needs only to allow an exception for religious entities. It can have both same-sex marriage and social services provided by the church if it wants, but it has chosen to create an unnecessary conflict.

    Also, the notion that providing social services is a business is offensive to those who provide such services because of their religious beliefs.

  • ahunt

    Actually no…the Catholic Church is free to discriminate on the basis of the color of socks people wear…it just cannot use tax dollars to do so.

  • crowepps

    Also, the notion that providing social services is a business is offensive to those who provide such services because of their religious beliefs.

    If the people are getting paid to perform the service, then it is a business.  Those who "provide such services because of their religious beliefs" historically have worked for free and paid for their supplies with voluntary donations.

  • colleen

    Also, the notion that providing social services is a business is
    offensive to those who provide such services because of their religious
    beliefs.

     

    In that case those who provide services because of their religious beliefs should do so on their own dime.

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • dominickj

    I’m sorry ahunt, but I have to differ with you here. The Catholic church Can discriminate from the pulpit to their congregation, but what they Can’t do is TELL AND blackmail our Congress to do it!

  • ahunt

    I stand corrected.

  • taxservice

    BLACKMAIL is when a church threatens to stop administering to those in dire need and whom they deign to help!!! BLACKMAIL is the threat of excommunicaton of our lawmakers, and citizens of this country, unless they support the mandates of their church. Denying the rights of citizens, due to this kind of BLACKMAIL, should be rewarded with the imposition of laws which would deny tax free status to those who insist on such practices. (MNSVHO)

     

    "Jack"-:)

  • kate-ranieri

    I say let Catholic Services pull out of helping. Let them do without the tax dollars that support “their” work. There are plenty of other organizations that will step up like Lutheran Services or Salvation Army. No disrespect to the Catholic Church, but they are not the only game in town.

    In the meantime, I think the IRS ought to investigate the entire US catholic organization for their lobbying and interferring in politics.

  • edward-craig

    Let them withdraw their services.
    Let the perverts of the Church use their money to pay off those children they abused.
    The Catholic church appears to have less viability than Christian Science.