District of Columbia City Council Imposes Recognition of Same Sex Marriages

Legalization of Same Sex Marriage in the Nation’s Capital

Archdiocese Remains Committed to Serving Poor

Satement of the Archdiocese of Washington:

Today the District of Columbia joined a handful of states where legislatures or courts have redefined marriage to include persons of the same sex. Since this legislation was first introduced in October, the Archdiocese of Washington opposed the redefinition of marriage based on the core teaching of the Catholic Church that the complementarity of man and woman is intrinsic to the definition of marriage. However, understanding the City Council was committed to legalizing same sex marriages, the archdiocese advocated for a bill that would balance the Council’s interest in redefining marriage with the need to protect religious freedom. Regrettably, the bill did not strike that balance.

 The Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic Charities are deeply committed to serving those in need, regardless of race, creed, gender, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. This commitment is integral to our Catholic faith and will remain unchanged into the future.

Religious organizations have long been eligible to provide social services in our nation’s capital and have not been excluded simply because of their religious character. This is because the choice of provider has focused on the ability to deliver services effectively and efficiently. We are committed to serving the needs of the poor and look forward to working in partnership with the District of Columbia consistent with the mission of the Catholic Church.

 For more information on marriage, visit www.MarriageMattersDC.org.

 The Archdiocese of Washington includes over 580,000 Catholics in the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s. In the District of Columbia, there are 40 parishes, 21 Catholic schools and 25 corporations established to serve the community.

13 Replies to “District of Columbia City Council Imposes Recognition of Same Sex Marriages”

  1. Can you please specify what today’s vote means in light of your earlier pronouncement that the diocese will pull out of services it offers at things like the Catholic homeless shelters? Will you in fact now follow through on that? Thank you

    1. Well the bottom line is we have not said we would pull out. We have said we are committed to continuing to provide services and have been concerned that the city would not allow us to under the contracting rules that they have. We remain committed to serving and to working out a way to do that in partnership with the city and consistent with our Catholic faith.

      So the matter is really in the city’s hands at this point. There are certain things in the new legislation with which we cannot comply and which would, according to the legislation disqualify us from providing services using city money. So in the end it is not about what we will do but what the city will do.

  2. Thank you for the response. Still confused though. It is anticipated the mayor will sign the legislation exactly as it has passed the council. With nothing changing, and the diocese’s stance obviously unbending, how will the church continue to provide such services for the poor? Thank you,

  3. I’m really, extremely concerned by the choice that is being made here.

    There will be a lot of blood on your hands; this action will not go unnoticed by your followers and I hope you are prepared for the consequences of it. Even just this sort of statement shows that you place your political agenda over your followers and the people who depend on your support in such a time of need. Even just reducing the amount at which you give over something more than a financial issue will have a drastic affect.

      1. ????? Indeed!

        If Catholic Charities is no longer eligible to receive funds from the DC government to provide services to city residents, then the only way CC can provide services at current levels is if parishioners within the diocese make up the lost funds. The money isn’t going to miraculously appear out of nowhere.

        If CC ends up cutting back, one shouldn’t point the finger of blame at Archbishop Wuerl or the other Powers that Be in the Archdiocese of Washington. One should look in the mirror.

        Cynthia BC (not to be confused with the other Cynthia)

  4. Isn’t this the same logic used by those who take hostages?” I’m not killing them…by not doing what I’m telling you, the blood is in your hands, not on mine.”

    I’m not a Christian, but I had really expected better than this from you, rationalizing your sins away like common criminals.

  5. Steven,

    Your argument is fallacious. Murder is an intrinsically evil act, meaning that it is always wrong no matter the circumstances. Helping the poor is a positive injunction which may be satisfied in a variety of ways that may or may not include government assistance.

  6. BTW, when I speak of the sin of murder I am differentiating it from killing which is legitimate in cases of self-defense.

  7. Steven,

    There is a false definition of tolerance that, left unchecked, will tear apart the fiber of what we Christians hold dear, the family. Tolerance has become synonymous with condoning. I understand that you aren’t a Christian, but for those of us who are, we must follow Jesus’ example. Jesus taught that we love and care for one another without condoning transgression. Our culture has distorted that idea so much so that if a Christian does not accept the sin, it is viewed that he does not tolerate the sinner. The faith we hold is the opposite- love the sinner but hate the sin. In good faith (whatever that faith may be), no one should condone behavior they see is wrong.

    Over and over (and over again!) the Catholic Church has condemned abusive treatment of others and reminds its followers that each person has dignity. We can express love and friendship for our homosexual brothers and sisters without accepting the practice of homosexuality or any re-definition of marriage. Yet, you equate our upholding beliefs with criminal behavior.

    If you want to talk about holding people hostage- why not look to the DC City Council? It seems to me that they are holding an entire city hostage here.

  8. Everything will be all right and the poor will be served. Multiple options are still on the table. A group of Baptists have offered to administer the programs now run by CC. CC could elect to come under ERISA. The DC Government could clarify the duties of contractors by regulation. There is the “San Francisco” option. Lastly, many have noted that CC has never explained how they justify in giving “spousal” benefits to other marriages the Church finds contrary to the core teaching of the Catholic Church. Their silence here leads some to expect that a resolution is not as difficult as some others say.

    Everyone needs to calm down.

  9. They will be served because Catholic Charities and the ARchdiocese said they are committed to do so even if the city throws up barriers that are unnecessary. CC can’t come under ERISA anyway. Lawyers around DC have been laughing at the law professor who put that idea out since the Dept of Labor said religions can’t do that for health plans – only once – irreversible – and for PENSION plans. And, San Fran made me laugh. Not only a different issue, but if the Council wanted to use domestic partners as its guide, why didn’t it look at its own law, which exempts religions? Regardless of what anyone thinks, the idea that a government would start telling religions how they can live out their faith in their own religious organizations is troubling. The Church at least respected the Council could do what it wanted outside of the Church, but the Council didn’t think that was good enough and now is telling religions how to operate internally. That’s scary.

  10. Eileen,

    Catholic Charities is not a religion or a church. It is a separate incorporation from the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Washington and that is why they have this option. If the lawyers you know would spend less time laughing and more time looking seriously at this issue, we might have a solution.

    But we also have to accept that CC simply may not want to make this election or for some other reason wants to pick and choose which marriages that are contrary to the core teaching of the Catholic Church it will provide benefits for. In that case, we need to be grateful that our Baptist brothers and sisters are able to pick up these contracts and continue the service to the poor that CC has nobly preformed in the past.

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