You want equality? Here you go.

March 4, 2010

In a recent post,
I highlighted the decision some pro-LGBT pastors have made to get out
of the civil marriage business entirely—what they can’t do for same-sex
couples they won’t do for anyone.

It seems the logic works in both directions: you can also avoid
doing something for same-sex couples by refusing to do it for anyone.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has long been in conflict with
the District of Columbia over the latter’s decision to legalize same-sex
marriage, effective yesterday. This week Catholic Charities DC, which
provides social services in the district as a city contractor, announced that it will evade the issue of health insurance for employees’ same-sex spouses by declining to offer it to spouses generally.

My first reaction was to marvel that an organization that promotes health care for all
would go out of its way to deny care to its own employees’ families. Of
course, that’s a bit of a rhetorical pivot; obviously they see this as a
separate issue from health care. Bryan Cones highlights
a more relevant irony: Catholic Charities DC is defending the abstract
“institution of marriage” by making things harder on actual married
people.

Cones also points to the more creative and expansive
solution pursued by the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I’ll add only that
this conflict would be largely defused if our culture had a shared
understanding that civil marriage rights have nothing to do with religion.