How hungry the homeless for the holidays in D.C.?
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, DC has threatened to withdraw its social services from the District of Columbia (DC) absent change in the proposed same-sex marriage law. This amid criticism (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), applause(1, 2) and some | neutrality.
The impact would be considerable, as the Washington Post reports:
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.
After the DC City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary narrowed the exemption for religious freedom under the bill legalizing marriage between same-sex couples, the archdiocese issued a press release which says:
Under the bill, religious organizations do not have to participate in the “solemnization or celebration” of a same-sex marriage ceremony. An earlier version of the bill also exempted them from “the promotion of marriage that is in violation of the entity’s religious beliefs.” The revised language significantly narrows that exemption to the “promotion of marriage through religious programs, counseling, courses, or retreats.”
As a result, religious organizations and individuals are at risk of legal action for refusing to promote and support same-sex marriages in a host of settings where it would compromise their religious beliefs. This includes employee benefits, adoption services and even the use of a church hall for non-wedding events for same-sex married couples. Religious organizations such as Catholic Charities could be denied licenses or certification by the government, denied the right to offer adoption and foster care services, or no longer be able to partner with the city to provide social services for the needy.
City Councilman David A. Catania said he would rather end the city’s relationship with Catholic charities than give in to the Church’s demands.
Thus far it appears the D.C. City Council agrees with Atrios:
Good. Someone else who [cares] can run them with federal tax dollars.
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