When the D.C. politicians passed gay marriage without serious conscience protections, the Catholic Church became aware that it would seriously interfere with the church's ability to help the government care for poor people in D.C. Catholic organizations, especially those that accepted government money, would now be required by the government to recognize gay marriages, regardless of their faith commitments.
As a result of this senseless government pressure, Catholic Charities was forced to close its adoption and foster care services, needlessly reducing the number of caring and competent services available to poor and abandoned children. And the diocese just announced it would, henceforth, cease offering spousal benefits at all, in order to protect Catholic organizations from being forced by the government to recognize gay marriages.
What was the point of these kinds of government impositions on Christian institutions? The Catholic Church's position on gay sex and gay marriage are well-known, or should be. Surely it should come as no shock to a potential employee to discover that a Catholic organization is not the right place to pursue their career if they want gay marital benefits? What gay person in D.C. is practically better off as a result of this mean-spirited and successful attempt to drive the Catholic Church out of the public square in key ways? If this were left up to ordinary gay people, I'm betting it would all turn out very different. Live and let live is the American impulse across ideological and moral disagreements.
But in today's world, Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., is both a brave and a kind man. He went to the city council and asked for permission to continue helping poor and vulnerable people in partnership with the city. The city council spurned his request. Its members were not interested in helping mute the conflicts between gay marriage and religious liberty. They want the right to use government to brand traditional Christianity as bigoted and discriminatory.
Shame on them. Shame on them. They will only fuel Americans' legitimate fears about what the real motivations behind gay marriage are.
And Americans of good will clearly have to come together over the heads of politicians to find a better solution.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.