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Today, the D.C. Council sent a bill legalizing gay marriages in the District to the full council for a Dec. 1 vote. And during committee discussion today, there seemed to be little willingness to compromise on the ancillary issue of the day: whether the bill would cause the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington to withdraw from social service programs.
The archdiocese’s issue seems to come down to two issues: adoptions to same-sex couples (which are already legal, as it happens), and mandated employee benefits for same-sex spouses of archdiocese employees.
As WaPo’s Tim Craig reports, neither of the bill main sponsors, Phil Mendelson or David Catania, are budging on the issue. Said Mendo: “The way this issue has been approached by the archdiocese in the past week was tantamount to drawing a line in the sand and it may be hard for them to show some flexibility.” Catania went on to ask how the archdiocese could give employee benefits to “fornicators and adulterers” but not gay couples.
LL’s quick thought: Isn’t this yet another argument for abandoning the already problematic employer-based health insurance model? Why should the institutional policies of an employer, subject to religious/moral/political dealings, affect the well-being of employees and their families?