Religion and Gay Rights

Here’s a delightful article from the Washington Post:

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said Wednesday that it will be unable to continue the social service programs it runs for the District if the city doesn’t change a proposed same-sex marriage law, a threat that could affect tens of thousands of people the church helps with adoption, homelessness and health care.

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.”

Actually the city is saying that if you receive public money you can not discriminate against homosexuals. But I appreciate the clear implication that religion and anti-gay animus go hand in hand.

How charming that the Washington Archdiocese believes discrimination towards homosexuals is a higher calling than helping the poor. Sounds like they really have their priorites in the proper order.

Happily, it seems the city council is not impressed with the threats:

The church’s influence seems limited. In separate interviews Wednesday, council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) referred to the church as “somewhat childish.” Another council member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), said he would rather end the city’s relationship with the church than give in to its demands.

“They don’t represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure,” said Catania, the sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill and the chairman of the Health Committee.

Kudos to Cheh and Catania.

In other news, the Mormon chuch is showing signs of developing a conscience on at least some gay rights issues:

The Mormon church for the first time has announced its support of gay rights legislation, an endorsement that helped gain unanimous approval for Salt Lake city laws banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment.

The Utah-based church’s support ahead of Tuesday night’s vote came despite its steadfast opposition to gay marriage, reflected in the high-profile role it played last year in California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure that barred such unions.

“The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage,” Michael Otterson, the director of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.

It’s nice that the Mormons managed to come down on the right side of this issue. But given their history, I’d say they have a lot of nerve complaining about violence to the institution of marriage.

Comments

  1. #1 Michael the little boot
    November 12, 2009

    I wish any of these religious-types would respond to our questions about what it is they’re referring to when they speak of “traditional marriage”. If they would concede there’s no such thing on the time-scale they’re discussing, they’d have no real argument…

    …oh, wait. Now I get it. THAT’S why none of them have responded to the question. (Not that they have a real argument in the first place.)

    Nice to see the D.C. council likely won’t cave to the pressure. Can’t wait to hear the whining begin from the opposition!

  2. #2 The Ridger
    November 12, 2009

    Somebody will be happy to take that secular money and administer the programs. The Church ought to be doing that sort of thing on their own, anyway, oughtn’t they?

    And nice to see that the Mormons admit gays have a right to live somewhere. Out of wedlock, of course, but it’s better than nothing…

  3. #3 NewEnglandBob
    November 12, 2009

    Religion

    Poisons

    Everything.

    Someone should write a book on that.

  4. #4 Incisivus
    November 12, 2009

    @NewEnglandBob…Someone did. It is called ‘god is not great – how religion poisons everything’ by Christopher Hitchens

  5. #5 CybrgnX
    November 12, 2009

    The only reason the religious are not taxed is because they are not to have a voice in politics. Since THEY ALL DO get involved with law and politics then lets state taxing them just like any other business. Then take away the ‘breed like rabbits’ clause from the tax code, and all other ‘marriage’ exemptions. Then change the laws to the point that ALL partnerships are treated the same. Then the jepus freaks can keep their ‘married’ label cuz it wont matter any more.
    Sorry I just woke up from a dream…..he majority volters are jepus lovers.

  6. #6 Jen
    November 13, 2009

    As to the main issue, anything that separates religious groups from social services a little more is all right by me; this expansion of “faith-based” services needs to be reversed, however it occurs. If it is a result of ugly truths coming to the surface, que sera sera.

    As for the Mormons giving lip service to gay rights, let’s make sure to read the whole story so that we realize that this is a public relations move. They have no intention of changing their policy and doctrine; this is strictly a shrewd move in order to gain more public acceptance.

  7. #7 your class
    November 13, 2009

    Dear J-Rosi-housie

    We are really upset that you are not here yet. We miss you.

  8. #8 pough
    November 13, 2009

    But given their history, I’d say they have a lot of nerve complaining about violence to the institution of marriage.

    Really? I always thought that the one-to-many style of marriage had a longer history than the one man, one woman style.

  9. #9 Gingerbaker
    November 13, 2009

    “Actually the city is saying that if you receive public money you can not discriminate against homosexuals.”

    What is the difference between the church accepting civic monies for a contract, and the church being property tax exempt?

    The city ought to revoke the church’s tax exemption if the church delivers on its threat to discriminate against homosexuals, IMO.

  10. #10 Robert O'Brien
    November 14, 2009

    Religion

    Poisons

    Everything.

    Someone should write a book on that.

    A miserable, bumbling sot with remarkably porcine features, Christopher Hitchens, crawled out of the bottle just long enough to do that.

  11. #11 Michael the little boot
    November 14, 2009

    Um…Incisivus and Robert O’Brien…do you understand sarcasm?

  12. #12 James Sweet
    November 16, 2009

    Incisivus: WOOSH.

  13. #13 Amber
    November 16, 2009

    After proposition 8 passed in CA there was a large movement of people who sent in forms to the IRS reporting the mormon church for failing to meet the requirements of their tax exempt status due to their involvement in the prop 8 campaign. I don’t know that anything ever came of that…I find it unlikely.

    Ultimately, the problem for me is that our government is upholding a religious view of marriage. When you talk to a republican who is against gay marriage they often say that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman. If you ask them if you should be allowed to marry if you are atheist, the response is “well, what gender are you marrying?” (yes, I observed such a discussion, recently). So, ultimately the qualms about religion and marriage aren’t the issue at all. The issue is gender, which should be and IS a secular issue. I’m not a christian, but married, does that mean my marriage means less than that of a Christian? What about Britney Spears’ marriage for all of 56 hours or whatever it was? Was her marriage more in the interest of family values and god than that of a homosexual couple?

    I could go on for hours. So, I’ll stop as I realize that I’m preaching to the choir.

  14. #14 Richard eis
    November 17, 2009

    And nice to see that the Mormons admit gays have a right to live somewhere. Out of wedlock, of course, but it’s better than nothing…

    It sounds like politics. Nothing more. Perhaps they got more of a backlash than they expected.

    It is as empty as a a racist having piles of black friends…and letting them use his toilet. Isn’t that so progressive.

  15. #15 James Sweet
    November 17, 2009

    After proposition 8 passed in CA there was a large movement of people who sent in forms to the IRS reporting the mormon church for failing to meet the requirements of their tax exempt status due to their involvement in the prop 8 campaign. I don’t know that anything ever came of that…I find it unlikely.

    I believe NOM is still under investigation in California, I think by some kind of board of ethics or something.

    Meanwhile, in Maine, NOM may be forced to turn over their donor list, thereby exposing LD$, Inc.’s hand in purposely fucking up Maine politics. It’s still grinding through the courts.

    So they may get at least some partial comeuppance, eventually. Not that it will matter that much…

  16. #16 Robert O'Brien
    November 17, 2009

    I believe NOM is still under investigation in California, I think by some kind of board of ethics or something.

    Meanwhile, in Maine, NOM may be forced to turn over their donor list, thereby exposing LD$, Inc.’s hand in purposely fucking up Maine politics. It’s still grinding through the courts.

    So they may get at least some partial comeuppance, eventually. Not that it will matter that much…

    That’s one of the things Joe Smith’s pseudo-church got right. And I doubt there will be “comeuppance.” The losers tried that in 2000 after Prop 22 and nothing came of it.

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