D.C.-Based Charities Face Split With City

Church Takes Hit for Defending Children

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WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Due to lawmakers’ determination to redefine marriage, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., has announced that it will have no choice but to withdraw from its partnership with the city government.

A bill on “civil marriage equality” would require Catholic institutions to provide the same benefits to employees who enter a same-sex union, as those provided to an employee with an opposite-sex marriage. Accreditations and/or licenses of Catholic educational institutions and professionals are also at stake.

In an opinion piece in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Archbishop Donald Wuerl explained why the law forces the archdiocese to cancel its partnership.

He said the Church has not given threats or ultimatums, but simply recognizes that “the new requirements by the city for religious organizations to recognize same-sex marriages in their policies could restrict our ability to provide the same level of services as we do now. This is so because the District requires Catholic Charities to certify its compliance with city laws when applying for contracts and grants. […] Since Catholic Charities cannot comply with city mandates to recognize and promote same-sex marriages, the city would withhold contracts and licenses.”

Trajectory

Helen Alvaré, a senior fellow in law at the Culture of Life Foundation, commented on the situation.

She suggested that the crux of the issue is this: “Those who would redefine marriage insist that relationships which may give rise to children merit no special recognition and support from the law and the community; the Catholic Church insists that they need and ought to have this recognition and support.”

Children, she explained, are at the heart of this battle.

Alvaré contended that for too long, family law has been changing in ways to “forward adults’ interests.”

And, she said, “[a]fter decades of experimenting with this model, sociologists, psychologists and even some lawmakers, are beginning to understand that neither adults’ nor children’s freedom have been advanced by the ‘adults-first’ trajectory.”

“The District of Columbia should fear further stripping marriage of its association with children,” Alvaré affirmed, noting the number of problems the district already faces because of “an ‘adults-first’ philosophy of sex and marriage.”

The lawyer reflected that if the D.C. City Council members “could bring themselves to think more integrally, or if they could bring themselves to think about the long run welfare of children and families, these same council members would also fear losing the collaboration of a body so deeply committed to the long run well-being of children, that it is willing to be persecuted in the court of public opinion for standing up for them.”

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On the Net:

Archbishop Wuerl’s opinion article: www.adw.org/news/news.asp?ID=705&Year=2009

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