Catholic Church | Gay Marriage | News | Washington DC

Catholics Church Threatens D.C. Council Over Marriage Equality Bill

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington D.C. has told the D.C. Council that if they are forced to recognize same-sex married couples (as D.C.'s proposed marriage equality law would impel them to do) they will have no other choice but to discontinue all social service programs in D.C. related to adoption, homelessness, health care and other areas.

The WaPo reports: Gibbs "Under the bill, headed for a D.C. Council vote next month, religious organizations would not be required to perform or make space available for same-sex weddings. But they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Fearful that they could be forced, among other things, to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples, church officials said they would have no choice but to abandon their contracts with the city. 'If the city requires this, we can't do it,' Susan Gibbs, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. 'The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really a problem.' Several D.C. Council members said the Catholic Church is trying to erode the city's long-standing laws protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination. The clash escalates the dispute over the same-sex marriage proposal between the council and the archdiocese, which has generally stayed out of city politics."

Catania The marriage bill's main sponsor, council member David Catania, has said he'd rather end the city's relationship with the Church than give in. Catania says that between 2006 and 2008 Catholic Charities received $8.2 million in city contracts.

More: "The archdiocese's statement follows a vote Tuesday by the council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary to reject an amendment that would have allowed individuals, based on their religious beliefs, to decline to provide services for same-sex weddings...After the vote, the archdiocese sent out a statement accusing the council of ignoring the right of religious freedom. Gibbs said Wednesday that without Alexander's amendment and other proposed changes, the measure has too narrow an exemption. She said religious groups that receive city funds would be required to give same-sex couples medical benefits, open adoptions to same-sex couples and rent a church hall to a support group for lesbian couples. Peter Rosenstein of the Campaign for All D.C. Families accused the church of trying to 'blackmail the city.' ... 'The issue here is they are using public funds, and to allow people to discriminate with public money is unacceptable,' Rosenstein said."

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  1. How loud would Ms. Gibbs be complaining if gay groups announced that they would openly discriminate against Catholics? Oh wait, that's against the law isn't it.

    Posted by: homert | Nov 12, 2009 10:35:21 AM

  2. Fuck the Catholic church. From the Crusades to the Inquisition, to the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, to the anti-Jewish pogroms, to protecting pedophile priests, to institutional child abuse, it's history's single greatest agent of injustice. Any short-term loss D.C. suffers in social surfaces pales beside the long-term gain of marginalizing the bigoted monarchy ruled from Rome.

    Posted by: MikeMick | Nov 12, 2009 10:41:56 AM

  3. Catania is my new hero. He says he'd rather cut out the church than give in to them. Best statement I've heard to date. They also recognize that the Catholic church is using public money (secular money) and then discriminating against us with it. Here's an idea, how about taking up a 2nd collection to run their adoption services. They have no problem doing this in Maine to take away the people's rights. I'm sure they can do it to promote something good right? NAH!

    Posted by: Aiden Raccoon | Nov 12, 2009 10:44:00 AM

  4. 'will have no other choice but to discontinue all social service programs in D.C. related to adoption, homelessness, health care and other areas.'

    How christian of them.
    "Do what we want or we'll leave all the most vulnirable and needy to suffer"

    I miss the lions.

    Posted by: griffin1573 | Nov 12, 2009 10:46:33 AM

  5. Really?

    Two words: PAY TAXES.

    You fucking filthy cunt whore of Babylon.

    The Papacy is one of the only surviving MONARCHIES of Europe. Overthrow the Pope. BURN THE VATICAN.

    Posted by: Mark | Nov 12, 2009 10:48:48 AM


    Posted by: GM | Nov 12, 2009 10:52:20 AM

  7. This is repulsive. Can you imagine Jesus turning away the poor and the needy because he wanted to score a political point?

    Posted by: elcamino | Nov 12, 2009 10:56:52 AM

  8. I wonder who would Jesus throw out into the street? Which children would he abandon? Which sick would die? Who would go hungry and starve?

    God bless us all, Tax the Church.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Nov 12, 2009 11:07:08 AM

  9. I just don't understand how a religious group would be willing to let needy people suffer in order to persecute one group. Isn't the premise behind religion that we're all God's children? Or is that only straight people?

    Posted by: Larry | Nov 12, 2009 11:11:20 AM

  10. Somehow I think this is bluff. The catholic church is doing so poorly in American right now, it can't afford to give up the millions in government money it gets.

    Besides, who are they to dictate morality when they have been molesting little boys for how many years? Maybe they should clean up their own house before trying to foist themselves on others.

    Posted by: MT | Nov 12, 2009 11:13:41 AM

  11. Wow. Anyone having flashbacks to England under Queen Elizabeth? Well not literal flashbacks, but you know what I'm saying.

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Nov 12, 2009 11:25:04 AM

  12. I can just see & hear how NOM,and Bill Donohue and a few others ARE GOING TO TWIST THIS WROUND TO SUIT THEM....with the "See, the Evil gays are doing to us,they're persecuting us"! blah blah blah its coming - in about 5,4,3,2...... how long...a day or 2 before they put out some Hateful statement...just like they twisted that Whole Ocean Grove NJ Incident with the lesbians wanting to use the Public facility to get married in.

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Nov 12, 2009 11:26:03 AM

  13. Nothing Christ-like about this christians. TAX THE CHURCH!

    Posted by: Tweety | Nov 12, 2009 11:29:14 AM

  14. Email Ms. Susan Gibbs at

    Posted by: Richie | Nov 12, 2009 11:31:12 AM

  15. this has happened before, and it always comes down to the same thing... some Catholic Charities organizations take the money and work with the laws, others refuse. shame that the DC Diocese is so backwards.

    Posted by: DR | Nov 12, 2009 11:37:06 AM

  16. How do you get a nun pregnant?

    Dress her up like an altar boy.

    DC should be happy to lose such "support."

    Posted by: jmdrwac | Nov 12, 2009 11:47:59 AM

  17. From what I see, the damned church spends more of its money fighting civil rights for gays in places like DC and Maine than they do on charity work anyway. Fuck them!

    Posted by: candideinnc | Nov 12, 2009 12:13:34 PM

  18. “The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really
    a problem.”

    Oh, please, Ms. Gibbs: If the diocese is providing contract services to the city for $8.2 million,
    you already ARE secular.

    PS, fuck you.

    Posted by: Paul | Nov 12, 2009 12:16:48 PM

  19. Why do the Catholics insist on making baby Jesus cry?

    Posted by: Todd in NYC | Nov 12, 2009 12:34:39 PM

  20. Sanctimonious, ignorant bastards.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Nov 12, 2009 12:44:46 PM

  21. I'm sure there is a secular organization that would glady take the 8.2 million to provide the same services.

    Posted by: qjersey | Nov 12, 2009 12:54:56 PM

  22. 'The city is saying in order to provide social services, you need to be secular. For us, that's really a problem.'

    No, the city is saying you can't discriminate using the money that we pay you to provide those services. There is a very clear difference.

    Posted by: SammySeattle | Nov 12, 2009 1:09:11 PM

  23. I second the statements by QJERSEY and SAMMYSEATTLE. Bid buh-bye to taxpayer support in any form to any religious / faith entity precisely in the name of religious freedom. Sans taxpayer money, the RC sect and others can do as they will, within limits of the law, following their so-called conscience. The RCs, LDS and others can carry the full financial burden of their social service ministries on their own dime. Trust me: If RC social services pulls out, there will be an AMAZING array of people of a more comprehensive, more truly catholic faith lining up to serve their faith and to serve others in need to replace the RC bigoted authoritarian extortionists. TELL THE RCs and others such to GO with "good riddance." Thanks, friend Andy, for such good work!

    Posted by: D. Joe Dunlap | Nov 12, 2009 1:23:48 PM

  24. So here is a question for DC taxpayers - How Much of the 8.2 Million paid in 2008 alone, and all the previous years to the DC Archdiocese, do you think went back into the Fight against Gay Marriage/Domestic Partnership battles over the years?????

    Posted by: alexinboston | Nov 12, 2009 1:24:08 PM

  25. Whore of Babylon? Excuse me, but that's a bit much Mark. Objecting to their hatefulness isn't effective if you merely match it with risible invective of your own.

    Posted by: elcamino | Nov 12, 2009 1:29:44 PM

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