Catholic Church to DC: Pass Marriage Equality And We Cut All Social Services

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    Nov 12, 2009 5:06 PM GMT
    I haven't seen this posted, so ...

    http://tinyurl.com/y8w5v9u

    Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum
    Same-sex marriage bill, as written, called a threat to social service contracts
    By Tim Craig and Michelle Boorstein
    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    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."

    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 clash escalates the dispute over the same-sex marriage proposal between the council and the archdiocese, which has generally stayed out of city politics.

    Catholic Charities, the church's social services arm, is one of dozens of nonprofit organizations that partner with the District. It serves 68,000 people in the city, including the one-third of Washington's homeless people who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church. City leaders said the church is not the dominant provider of any particular social service, but the church pointed out that it supplements funding for city programs with $10 million from its own coffers.

    "All of those services will be adversely impacted if the exemption language remains so narrow," Jane G. Belford, chancellor of the Washington Archdiocese, wrote to the council this week.

    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.

    The standoff appears to be among the harshest between a government and a faith-based group over the rights of same-sex couples. Advocates for same-sex couples said they could not immediately think of other places where a same-sex marriage law had set off a break with a major faith-based provider of social services.

    The council is expected to pass the same-sex marriage bill next month, but the measure continues to face strong opposition from a number of groups that are pushing for a referendum on the issue.

    The archdiocese's statement follows a vote Tuesday by the council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary to reject an amendment that would have allowed individuals, based on their religious beliefs, to decline to provide services for same-sex weddings.

    "Lets say an individual caterer is a staunch Christian and someone wants him to do a cake with two grooms on top," said council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 6), the sponsor of the amendment. "Why can't they say, based on their religious beliefs, 'I can't do something like that'?"

    After the vote, the archdiocese sent out a statement accusing the council of ignoring the right of religious freedom. Gibbs said Wednesday that without Alexander's amendment and other proposed changes, the measure has too narrow an exemption. She said religious groups that receive city funds would be required to give same-sex couples medical benefits, open adoptions to same-sex couples and rent a church hall to a support group for lesbian couples.

    Peter Rosenstein of the Campaign for All D.C. Families accused the church of trying to "blackmail the city."

    "The issue here is they are using public funds, and to allow people to discriminate with public money is unacceptable," Rosenstein said.

    Rosenstein and other gay rights activists have strong support on the council. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the judiciary committee, said the council "will not legislate based on threats."

    "The problem with the individual exemption is anybody could discriminate based on their assertion of religious principle," Mendelson said. "There were many people back in the 1950s and '60s, during the civil rights era, that said separation of the races was ordained by God."

    Catania, who said he has been the biggest supporter of Catholic Charities on the council, said he is baffled by the church's stance. From 2006 through 2008, Catania said, Catholic Charities received about $8.2 million in city contracts, as well as several hundred thousand dollars' worth this year through his committee.

    "If they find living under our laws so oppressive that they can no longer take city resources, the city will have to find an alternative partner to step in to fill the shoes," Catania said. He also said Catholic Charities was involved in only six of the 102 city-sponsored adoptions last year.

    Terry Lynch, head of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, said he did not know of any other group in the city that was making such a threat.

    "I've not seen any spillover into programming. That doesn't mean it couldn't happen if [the bill] passes," he said.

    Cheh said she hopes the Catholic Church will reconsider its stance.

    "Are they really going to harm people because they have a philosophical disagreement with us on one issue?" Cheh asked. "I hope, in the silver light of day, when this passes, because it will pass, they will not really act on this threat."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    1.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:12 PM GMT
    manipulative...

    I say screw em. That is my helpful contribution for the day.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:19 PM GMT
    That seems a tad extreme. "I disagree, so all those people I helped last year I'm not helping anymore. lol"
    Ugh, not a good way to go about changing the cities mind.
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:27 PM GMT
    lol DC can then present them with a bill for the money paid by DC for these 'services'.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Nov 12, 2009 5:36 PM GMT
    Wow. Now charity from the Catholic Church has strings attached?!


    Somebody's going to hell...
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:39 PM GMT

    heheh, coolarmydude, it wasn't charity....

    "Catania, who said he has been the biggest supporter of Catholic Charities on the council, said he is baffled by the church's stance. From 2006 through 2008, Catania said, Catholic Charities received about $8.2 million in city contracts, as well as several hundred thousand dollars' worth this year through his committee.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Nov 12, 2009 5:41 PM GMT
    It's outrageous and petty that the issue of providing marriage benefits to gay couples is considered an affront to their church and worse than providing other services of benefit to those who don't even practice Catholicism, if any religion at all.
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9190

    Nov 12, 2009 5:46 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    heheh, coolarmydude, it wasn't charity....

    "Catania, who said he has been the biggest supporter of Catholic Charities on the council, said he is baffled by the church's stance. From 2006 through 2008, Catania said, Catholic Charities received about $8.2 million in city contracts, as well as several hundred thousand dollars' worth this year through his committee.


    Yeah, I got to that part after I wrote the first comment. All they are is a contractor for charity services. They don't have clout.

    As a former Catholic, I enjoy watching the Church shrink further into irrelevance. icon_lol.gif
  • lostlogic

    Posts: 223

    Nov 12, 2009 5:46 PM GMT
    I can't see this as being a popular stance among all the archbishops or at least the head US parish. The Church is one of the top charity givers in some of these larger cities unfortunately.
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:47 PM GMT
    Does anyone know if churches were allowed to not perform interracial marriages?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2009 5:47 PM GMT
    CC gets near 75% of it's funding from taxpayer dollars. It would be a blessing if they got off the taxpayer tit.
  • jarhead5536

    Posts: 1348

    Nov 12, 2009 6:07 PM GMT
    To hell with'em. The only remaining relevance the Church had was its social service programs. Now let them wander off onto the dustbin of history...
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Nov 12, 2009 6:10 PM GMT
    Jesus Christ would be proud.
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    Nov 12, 2009 6:11 PM GMT
    Extortion, plain & simple. If the Catholic Church won't administer city programs anymore, then it gets no city taxpayer dollars for administering those programs. Some other agency will take over their role, either secular or religious.

    This is one of the great mistakes in having religious groups administer government programs, which became widespread under the Bush "Faith Based Initiatives." Separation of church & state is violated, especially if religious entities get to decide how they will interpret public law in handling government programs, in accordance with their religious beliefs.

    Does a public program get administered one way over here, because the Catholics are handling it, and another way over here, because the Methodists are in charge? Or must public programs be written so they meet the teachings of the religious groups that expect to run them? That is what the Catholic Church is proposing here.

    Render unto God what is God's, and unto Caesar what is Caesar's.
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Nov 12, 2009 6:26 PM GMT
    I'm pretty disgusted in the Catholic church. Considering the money they have is donated to them by Catholics, my family included, to do God's will and help those in need. That is why it is called "Catholic Charities". To turn it around and use it for a political agenda and to discriminate against people is beyond deplorable.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Nov 12, 2009 6:27 PM GMT
    Mmm...delicious...and stupid on the Roman Catholic Church's part.

    If RCC wants to divest itself of influence over DC's population and of its social power, then less power to them! icon_biggrin.gif I hope the Universalists (and other GLBTQ friendly churches) can step in and take over the RCC's services and spread a more inclusive dogma.
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    Nov 12, 2009 6:36 PM GMT
    Tapper said1.jpg



    Wait a minute!
    I'm purty sure the couple at the top left are Lesbians! icon_eek.gif
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    Nov 12, 2009 6:38 PM GMT
    BodyWork4 saidWait a minute!
    I'm purty sure the couple at the top left are Lesbians! icon_eek.gif

    No, it's actually Alfred E. Newman, but in that alluring outfit I can understand how you would confuse him with a Lesbian. Love the mullet!

    Actually, what the hell IS that montage?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2009 6:40 PM GMT
    come on... who?
    ..and next ur gonna tell the kid in the red shirt is straight icon_rolleyes.gif











    icon_lol.gif
  • GTBL88

    Posts: 86

    Nov 12, 2009 6:41 PM GMT
    BodyWork4 said
    Tapper said1.jpg



    Wait a minute!
    I'm purty sure the couple at the top left are Lesbians! icon_eek.gif



    They do look like lesbians
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2009 6:43 PM GMT

    Here you go, GwgTrunks,

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_mar14.htm

    The churches began recognizing interracial couples back in the 60s, but none married them until state laws or federal laws changed.

    The following is just as bad, and still happens,

    "Roman Catholic Church: In 1996, the church forbade a church marriage because the husband-to-be was a paraplegic, and thus presumably could not engage in sexual activity and consummate the marriage. The couple was free to be married outside of their faith. This restriction still surfaces from time to time."

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_mar3.htm
  • JP85257

    Posts: 3284

    Nov 12, 2009 6:45 PM GMT
    My belief on the issues is that you CANT and SHOULDNT attempt to force people to accept things...People are gonna accept and tolerate what they will. It is the archdioces choice. I think they are bluffing tho.
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    Nov 12, 2009 6:48 PM GMT
    Lovely.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 12, 2009 6:49 PM GMT
    The micks never seem to amaze me, when are they going to get over there time as a supper power is long gone, and there rules stops at the gates of Vatican City.

    I'm blessed to live in a protestant country where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is our Head of State. She gives us independence to decide such things for ourselves, and has never tried to blackmail my country if our government won't ed to give us homosexuals of Oz, equality. Just if we won't to be a republic, it's up to us, just don't drag her into the dirty debate. yet if we was a catholic country they would bring out the troops; look at what they have done to the North Ireland.

    Protest at their doors and demand they close them and go home to Vatican City. Remember the last Pope stated any country to give homosexuals equality, is deranged.

    This is not short of blackmail, or even a minor form of terrorism; don't do things our way, and your poor will suffer, we will take it out on them.