Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, November 13, 2009

Threats from the Catholic Church on Gay Marriage

The New York Times reports that Washington's Roman Catholic Archdiocese is beginning to make threats on the gay marriage issue.

The fight over a proposed same-sex marriage law here heated up this week as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said that if the law passed, the church would cut its social service programs that help residents with adoption, homelessness and health care.

Under the bill, which has the mayor’s support and is expected to pass next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform same-sex weddings or make space available for them.

But officials from the archdiocese said they feared the law might require them to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples. As a result, they said, the archdiocese would have to abandon its contracts with the city if the law passed.

The threat is not the first time a religion-based provider of social services has said it would stop providing services in response to a same-sex marriage law, gay rights advocates say.

In 2006, Boston’s archbishop, Sean P. O'Malley, said that Catholic Charities there would stop its adoption-related work rather than comply with a state law requiring that gay men and lesbians be allowed to adopt children.

Read the full article here.


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At some point the leaders of the Catholic Church will recognize that their power is evaporating and their threats do not scare people into compliance. As a recovered RC having faced down their threats and use of fear for power I can see respect fading and even in those who remain involved in the church who are examining their rules and beliefs. Denial of reality is rampant but it is being exposed quickly.

Imaging the dilemma of priests who are not allowed to marry but are in sexual relationships with other priests if they have to perform the very ceremony they wish they could have themselves. Better to ban same sex marriage than risk married priests. They think it is better to turn the other way than open up the issues.

Posted by: Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem M.Ed. | Nov 13, 2009 6:18:16 AM

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