The Catholic Church would rather be allowed to discriminate than help the homeless. The Archdiocese of Washington D.C. now says if the District's marriage equality bill is passed, the Church will cut social service programs that help tens of thousands of residents with adoption, homelessness and health care, reports the Washington Post.
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.' "
Catholic Charities, serves about 68,000 local residents, including about a third of the city¹s homeless who go to city-owned shelters managed by the church, city officials said. Between 2006 and 2008 Catholic Charities received some $8.2 million in city contracts. The marriage bill's main sponsor, Council member David Catania, says he would rather end the city's relationship with the Church than give in.
It's not the first time a faith-based provider of social services has threatened to stop providing services in response to gay rights or marriage equality. In 2006 in Boston, Archbishop Sean P. O¹Malley said Catholic Charities would stop its adoption-related work rather than comply with the Massachusetts law that allowed gay men and lesbians to adopt children.