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  • « The week on GNW (Feb. 28-March 7) | Main | A capital case for gay marriage »

    March 07, 2010

    Catholic Charities had another choice

    Posted by: Chris

    Archbishop donald wuerl gay marriage catholic charities
    Brace yourself.

    Many of us were already disgusted that Catholic Charities of Washington, D.C., chose to axe health coverage for all spouses rather than include same-sex spouses, who as of this week can enter into civil marriage in the nation's capital. The move was gratuitous for any number of reasons, since the Catholic agency had no trouble covering the spouses of divorced and remarried employees, despite that flagrant violation of church teaching.

    What's more, the D.C. chapter could have followed the example of the San Francisco archdiocese and replaced spousal coverage with an option for domestic partners, defined to include spouses or any other family member or significant other with whom the employee shared a residence.

    Now comes word that there was an even easier option, one that wouldn't have required Catholic Charities to change current coverage at all. All the archdiocese had to do was "opt into ERISA," the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which allows private employers like Catholic Charities who self-insure to define "spouse" any why they want:

    Catholic Charities of Maine Inc. opted into ERISA in July 2003 in response to a 2002 city of Portland ordinance requiring all employers that accept housing and community development funds from the county to provide domestic partner benefits.

    The trade journal Business Insurance asked Catholic Charities of Washington, whose self-insured plan is administered by Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield, why it didn't opt into ERISA instead of discontinuing all future spousal coverage, regardless of gender. They declined to answer.

    I'll answer for them: Because that administerial change wouldn't have carried the same political bang for the buck, and Catholic Charities of Washington is part of a growing rightward trend by the Roman Catholic Church to influence public policy in a way that is hostile to gay rights, abortion rights.

    How bitterly ironic, then, that as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops claims to support universal health care, the archdiocese of Washington has prioritized scoring political points over the health care of the families of its own employees.

    (Photo of Archbishop Donald Wuerl (left) via Life Magazine)
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    Comments

    1. jim on Mar 10, 2010 9:57:18 AM:

      Thanks for posting this! It is so important to expose all this. Clearly, the DC Church is trying to make its employees and parishioners angry at gays for ultimately taking away health care access for married straight people. It has to be exposed that they had options and choices, but instead CHOSE a scorched earth policy (really the same logic that generated the "sex abuse crisis" - they've learned nothing). As fas as moral stances, it seems that the Catholic hierarchy is absolutely committed to the "right to life," up until 3 minutes after birth, at which point all bets are off. If you're born into a low income family with no health care, well no one promised you life would be easy. Buck up, deal, suffer,a nd you'll enter the Kingdom of God soon enough. And if that 3 minute old baby is gay - screw 'em.

    1. cheap ugg boots on Nov 22, 2010 3:53:36 AM:

      If these people are happy with their partners then let them be happy with each other vested by marriage.

    1. cheap ugg boots on Nov 28, 2010 11:23:12 PM:

      I can accept the gay marriage.

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