Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Peter J. Smith

11/13/2009 (4 years ago)

LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

Without an exemption the Church would be required to do such things as extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples, in violation of its core teachings.

Religious groups and churches, including the Catholic archdiocese and its affiliates, would also have to open up their services to homosexual couples, including: adoption and foster-care services, spousal benefits for 'married' same-sex couples, and church halls requested for non-marriage functions.

Religious groups and churches, including the Catholic archdiocese and its affiliates, would also have to open up their services to homosexual couples, including: adoption and foster-care services, spousal benefits for 'married' same-sex couples, and church halls requested for non-marriage functions.

Highlights

By Peter J. Smith

LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

11/13/2009 (4 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy


WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has said it will be forced to end its government contracts for social services in the nation's capital, if the D.C. Council does not broaden a religious exemption in a bill to legalize same-sex "marriage."

Without the exemption, says the archdiocese, the Church would be required to do such things as extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples, in violation of its core teachings.

The bill under consideration by the district council would legalize same-sex "marriage," but it has a narrow provision that states religious groups would not have to perform same-sex "marriages" or provide their facilities as venues for the novel nuptials.

An earlier version of the bill exempted religious groups from "the promotion of marriage that is in violation of the entity's religious beliefs." However the current legislation whittles down that exemption to just the "promotion of marriage through religious programs, counseling, courses, or retreats," making religious groups and individuals far more subject to persecution via anti-discrimination lawsuits for holding fast to their consciences.

The archdiocese has strongly objected to the legislation, insisting that in all other cases the legislation would put "religious organizations and individuals at risk for adhering to the teachings of their faith."

In areas not exempted by law, individuals and religious organizations will have to obey D.C. laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, which will then include "married" same-sex couples. This could mean that individuals - from wedding photographers to caterers - will face charges of unlawful discrimination if they refuse their services to same-sex couples for reasons of conscience.

Religious groups and churches, including the Catholic archdiocese and its affiliates, would also have to open up their services to homosexual couples, including: adoption and foster-care services, spousal benefits for "married" same-sex couples, and church halls requested for non-marriage functions.

Despite the archdiocese's having asked for a broader exemption, the D.C. Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary rejected on Tuesday any amendment to that effect.

That provoked the archdiocese to warn that the D.C. government's relationship with the Catholic Church's social services arm, Catholic Charities, which serves 68,000 city residents every year through 93 social programs carried out by 40 parishes, would be dramatically altered by the legislation if changes were not made.

"It is our concern that the committee's narrowing of the religious exemption language will cause the government to discontinue our long partnership with them and open up the agency to litigation and the use of resources to defend our religious beliefs rather than serve the poor," said Edward Orzechowski, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.

The Archdiocese told the Washington Post on Wednesday that failing to broaden conscience protections for religious groups and individuals would force them to cancel its social services contracts with the city. That in turn would affect the tens of thousands of people seeking help with adoption, homeless shelters, and health services.

The Catholic Church in D.C. nevertheless would continue its social ministries that are not contracted with the D.C. government, and therefore would not fall under the district's regulations.

The Washington Post reports that D.C. council members are thus far unmoved. Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) derided the Archdiocese and its concerns as "somewhat childish." David A. Catania (I-At Large) also told the Post he would rather see the city's relationship with the Church ended before accommodating its demands on conscience protections.

A vote on the D.C. same-sex "marriage" bill is expected sometime in December.

An ecumenical pro-family coalition, Stand4Marriage Coalition D.C., led by Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church and fellow black pastors is lobbying, along with the Catholic archdiocese, to put an initiative banning same-sex "marriage" on the ballot for 2010.

---

LifeSiteNews.com is a non-profit Internet service dedicated to issues of culture, life, and family. It was launched in September 1997. LifeSiteNews Daily News reports and information pages are used by numerous organizations and publications, educators, professionals and political, religious and life and family organization leaders and grassroots people across North America and internationally.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

As hundreds of bills languish on his desk, push is on to 'fire Harry Reid' Watch

Image of The GOP now hopes to use those examples to build a case against Harry Reid and argue that his procedural stranglehold is the reason for the Senate's painful levels of gridlock.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The GOP is now calling for either the resignation or firing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republican National Committee is launching a two-week "robo-call" campaign in efforts to nationalize Senate races across battleground states, arguing that each ... continue reading


DOES the President have the unilateral power to legalize illegal aliens? Hoyer: No Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Does U.S. President Barack Obama have the unilateral right to convert countless illegal immigrants to legal status? House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said that President Obama "can't legalize" the illegal aliens, but added that the president "can ... continue reading


RATCHETING UP SANCTIONS: U.S. Europe increase sanctions against Russia Watch

Image of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he is not considering adding new sanctions. Australia lost 28 citizens on Flight MH17. Abbott said that at the moment

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy have been announced by U.S. President Obama. It's all part of Washington's latest efforts to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his support for Ukrainian rebels. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


'Achievements and contributions… to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy,' Obama celebrates achievements of Muslims Watch

Image of A recent survey found that 72 percent of Muslim-Americans approve of the President, more so than any other religious group.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the persecution of Iraqi Christians at the hands of Islamic jihadists continued, President Obama and First Lady Michelle released a statement this past weekend thanking Muslim Americans for their many "achievements and contributions...to building the very ... continue reading


U.S. Bishops say Obama's executive order 'implements discrimination' Watch

Image of Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, pictured, and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo in a statement noted that the executive order, which will impact a fifth of the U.S. workforce, discriminates against faithful Catholics.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new order by U.S. President Obama that forbids federal contractors from discriminating "on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity," has been denounced by U.S. bishops as "unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed" and, in effect, ... continue reading


Israel harshly critical of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, called 'an Alien' Watch

Image of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's apparent decision to use Qatar as a conduit through which to communicate with Hamas, effectively ditching an earlier Egyptian proposal which the group had rejected has stirred the pot.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The United States and Israel have been the staunchest of allies since Israel reached statehood following World War II - but this doesn't mean that the nations have always seen eye-to-eye. Indeed, the right-wing faction of the Israeli government are harshly ... continue reading


President Obama is 'mailing it in', bought the farm - spending lots of time golfing and goofing off Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Lackadaisical. That word is used to define "lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy." Lackadaisical appears to described U.S. President Barack Obama as of late. The president is pending an awful lot of time playing golf while the nation and the ... continue reading


In President Obama's war on religious freedom the people suffer another loss Watch

Image of A July 21 executive order has dealt a huge blow to the cause of freedom of religion in the United States.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's July 21 executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual-self-identification has lead to strong criticism from several prominent U.S. bishops, calling the executive order "unprecedented and extreme." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Efforts against female genital mutilation could be thwarted by population growth Watch

Image of Due partly to community activism and legislation, the prevalence of FGM, which involves the cutting away of the external female genitalia, and the marriage of girls under the age of 18 has decreased slightly over the last 30 years, UNICEF said.

By Lisa Anderson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Advances in fighting female genital mutilation, or FGM and child marriage could be offset by population growth unless the rate of progress increases, according to new data released Tuesday by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). (Thomson Reuters ... continue reading


FREE SPEECH VIOLATED: Tea party groups' lawsuit against IRS proceeds Watch

Image of Among the individuals named in the lawsuit is Lois Lerner, who headed the division that processes applications for tax-exempt status at that time.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They're not going to take it - and they're taking their claims to court. A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit by 10 tea party groups to move forward against the Internal Revenue Service. The judge rejected a request by the federal government to dismiss all the ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:1-9
1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:6, 8-10, 14
6 Those who hope in you must not be made fools of, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:54-58
54 and, coming to his home town, he taught the people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 1st, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori
August 1: Bishop, Doctor of the Church, and the founder of the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter