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.So, flush with Catholic success as the 800-pound gorilla in Maiine, the DC Archdiocese is throwing its weight around and making threats.
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.
What about religious exemptions? Well, the DC law provides that for institutions. But not for individuals. You don't get to deny service to someone because they're gay, any more than you can deny service because they're black.
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 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."I hope the city stands up to this crass attempt to attack GLBT families.
Update DO you suppose the Archdiocese has any employees who are remarried after divorce? Do you suppose they get employment benefits that cover their family?