Thursday, March 04, 2010

Catholic Charities Reacts to D.C. Same-sex 'Marriage'

As homosexuals in Washington D.C. lined up to get 'married' this week, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington announced that the health coverage of employees of Catholic Charities will avoid offering benefits to same-sex 'marriage' partners.

-- From "Same-sex marriage leads Catholic Charities to adjust benefits" By William Wan, Washington Post Staff Writer 3/2/10

. . . Catholic Charities will not offer benefits to spouses of new employees or to spouses of current employees who are not already enrolled in the plan. A letter describing the change in health benefits was e-mailed to employees Monday, two days before same-sex marriage [became] legal in the District.

"We looked at all the options and implications," said the charity's president, Edward J. Orzechowski. "This allows us to continue providing services, comply with the city's new requirements and remain faithful to the church's teaching."

After the council voted to legalize gay marriage, Catholic Charities last month transferred its foster-care program -- 43 children, 35 families and seven staff members -- to another provider, the National Center for Children and Families.

The church faced two options with the approval of the new law, said Robert Tuttle, a George Washington University professor who studies the relationship between church and state. One choice was to expand the definition of domestic partner, as the Archdiocese in San Francisco did years ago, to include a parent, sibling or someone else in the household.

The second choice was to do what the Washington Archdiocese has done: eliminate benefits for all spouses.

Those who use their health benefits to cover spouses will be grandfathered into the new policy.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal in D.C." by Jessica Gresko, Associated Press 3/3/10

Washington [is now] the sixth place in the nation where gay marriages can take place. Because of a mandatory waiting period, however, couples won't actually be able to marry in the District of Columbia until March 9. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont currently issue licenses to same-sex couples.

. . . the marriage bureau has changed its license applications so they are gender-neutral, asking for the name of each "spouse" rather than the "bride" and "groom." And at civil marriage ceremonies to be performed in the courthouse, a booklet for the official performing the marriage now reads, "I now pronounce you legally married" instead of "I now pronounce you man and wife."

The gay marriage law was introduced in the 13-member D.C. Council in October and had near-unanimous support from the beginning. The bill passed and D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed it in December, but because Washington is a federal district, the law had to undergo a congressional review period that expired Tuesday.

Opponents, however, are still attempting to overturn the bill in court.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.