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Well, this is really shameful.

For most of the Fall, we’ve been reporting on the latest strains on homeless services around the city: First, it was Central Union Mission struggling to find space for a new shelter; Next, we focused on budgetary concerns crippling shelters around the city.

Well, forget all that. Now, we have a new reason to worry key social services will soon evaporate: The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington claims that it will discontinue contracts with the city if it is forced to extend employee benefits to same-sex married couples if the D.C. Council’s gay marriage bill passes into law.

So the Archdiocese’s priority list apparently places “helping people with desperate needs” below “not recognizing same-sex marriages.”

The Washington Post has a front page article on this topic in this morning’s paper.

“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.”

According to the story, “city leaders”—-particularly At-large Councilmember David Catania—-are claiming that Catholic Charities, which serves 68,000 residents, isn’t the end-all, be-all of social services in the District. (Catholic Charities also has contracts providing health care and adoption services, according to the Post.) But last month, as the Council and the Department of Human Services went back and forth on budgetary matters, Catholic Charities was one of the loudest and most pressing voices arguing for more funding to keep open full-time shelters during the winter.

The Post article quotes Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh saying “she hopes the Catholic Church will reconsider its stance.”

“‘Are they really going to harm people because they have a philosophical disagreement with us on one issue?’ Cheh asked. ‘I hope, in the silver light of day, when this passes, because it will pass, they will not really act on this threat.'”

Yeah, let’s hope so, for the love of god—-and I guess, in this case, I mean that quite literally.

Image by TheChristianAlert.org, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License.