New quarter-million-dollar city contract for D.C. Catholic archdiocese
By Michelle Boorstein
Time is almost up for the Washington Catholic Archdiocese to figure out how the church will balance the new city measure legalizing same-sex marriage and the church's desire to keep its many social service partnerships with the city while not recognizing such couples as married.
The law takes affect early next week, and officials with the archdiocese and its Catholic Charities arm said even Friday that they are still figuring out how to structure the benefits packages they offer employees. The city law appears to require groups receiving public money to offer benefits to partners of married employees - gay or straight.
Last year, before the measure passed, Archbishop Donald Wuerl said it could make it impossible for the church to continue its social service work with the city - dozens of programs for which Catholic Charities is paid more than $20 million. But in recent weeks church officials have repeatedly said they are committed to partnering with the city and will find a way to make it work.
The question is: How will the church's benefits plan be structured? Traditional faith groups around the country are watching, church-state experts say.
A decision will clearly be coming soon, as the city just awarded Catholic Charities' Spanish arm $250,000 to work on education programs to prevent diabetes and obesity, among other afflictions.
Erik Salmi, a spokesman for the D.C. branch of Catholic Charities, said the church still doesn't know how it will manage the benefits issue. "But we will be in compliance" with city law, he said.
Michelle Boorstein| February 27, 2010; 6:31 PM ET | Category: God in Government Save & Share:
Previous: Obama task force: Consult religious groups more on foreign policy | Next: Congressmen, tax collectors and Jesus
The comments to this entry are closed.