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November 23, 2009

Balancing marriage equality and religious freedom in the nation's capital

Anticipating a vote soon in the Washington, DC, city council, a NYT editorial addresses the balance between marriage equality for same-sex couples and the concerns of the Catholic Church:

The pending bill appropriately exempts religious institutions from having to marry same-sex couples, promote same-sex marriage or rent church property to them for receptions or other affairs. But this bill rightly requires that employers providing spousal benefits to employees extend those same benefits to same-sex partners who marry.

This law, which deals in the civic institution of marriage and not religious doctrine, would cover Catholic Charities, an organization that receives public funds and that does extraordinary work feeding and housing the poor in Washington and elsewhere in the country.

The editorial goes on to criticize the archbishop of Washington for seeking additional special concessions for Catholic Charities and implicitly threatening to end "the decades-old partnership between the church and the city in the mission of caring for the needy."  In a column in Sunday's Washington Post, the archbishop places the blame for the problem on the city itself: "Since Catholic Charities cannot comply with city mandates to recognize and promote same-sex marriages, the city would withhold contracts and licenses."

-SS

November 23, 2009 | Permalink

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