The District of Columbia is looking to join the ranks of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Tuesday night the District Council passed a bill to legalize gay marriage by an 11-2 margin:
The most vocal opposition came from the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has warned that legalizing same-sex marriage would force the church’s social services arm to scale back its efforts in the city.
The law, as passed Tuesday, would not make churches perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, but it would require employers doing business with the city, including churches, to provide health benefits for married same-sex couples.
Church officials said that providing those benefits would violate their religious beliefs.
“We really don’t want to be in a position where we’re being asked to abandon one part of our faith to be able to live out the other part,” said Susan Gibbs, an archdiocese spokeswoman. “Our goal is to be able to provide the same level of services, but we have to be true to our faith.”
I wouldn’t expect the Catholic Church to support such a measure. But, based on our experience in California, where the church got much less attention for its opposition than Mormons, it’s interesting to see them front and center.