Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catholic Archdiocese might cut social service contract with Washington DC if gay marriage bill passes

The Washington Post has an important front pages story (from its "On Faith" series) Thursday Nov. 12 by Tim Craig and Michelle Boorstein about the proposed same-sex marriage law for Washington DC. It is titled “Catholic Church gives D.C. ultimatum: Same-sex marriage bill, as written, called a threat to social service contracts”, with link here.

Although the bill does not require churches to perform same-sex weddings against their will, it does require faith-based social service agencies with contracts with the City, such as the Catholic Archdiocese’s Catholic Charities, to practice non-discrimination in employment and in partner benefits. The Archdiocese says it would have abandon its social service contracts. Here employment and marriage discrimination merge, in a sense. It’s not clear if the law on the books now (regarding out-of-state marriage recognition) could create similar problems.

Back in 1980, Catholic Charities in Dallas, where I lived at the time, ran a placement program for Cuban refugees, but would not accept gay men as sponsors. I recall that from a personal conversation at the Charity.

Update: Nov. 13

Metro columnist Petula Dvorak writes "Catholic officials shouldn't forsake D.C.'s poor in gay marriage fight", link here. She writes "Charities are telling our city's most vulnerable people -- homeless families, sick children, low-income mothers -- that they are willing to throw them on the table as a bargaining chip."

I recall that conversation with a representative at Catholic Charities in Dallas in 1980. He said, "the fact that you say you are gay ends the discussion." It seems that "don't ask don't tell" in other areas has been around for a long time, especially in the charitable organization world. What was the Salvation Army like in the old days?

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