Monday, November 23, 2009
The Washington DC Council is currently putting through legislation that will legalize gay marriage in The District. This legislation doesn't just recognize same sex marriages, it forces everyone who does businesses within the city limits to recognize it as well, and this includes Catholic Charities.
For those you are not familiar with DC, it is a high population of low income people. Homelessness, gang violence, and poorly performing schools are just the tip of the iceberg. People literally sleep on grates only blocks away from The White House. It is truly disgraceful.
The District has very little power; the purse strings are basically controlled by Congress. If you have ever seen the license plates, 'taxation without representation". Due to this, the city relies heavily upon private charities to conduct much of the community outreach that is done within the city. Again, this is a city that is sorely in need of these services.
Catholic Charities has been told that if the same sex marriage legislation passes they will be forced into recognizing all marriages, including same sex. It seems to be irrelevant to the city that church doctrine prohibits same sex marriage. The archdiocese has a very intricate infrastructure to help the residents with HIV/AIDS. Washington DC has the highest rates of HIV positive people living in the United States. Since many of the residents living in the district live below or just above the poverty line, they are very dependent upon charities to get the life saving medications and services. The Catholic Church also runs homeless shelters, soup kitchens, clothing drives, meal delivery to the elderly and the ill. Adoption services are primarily handled by the church. The church is also very active in the foster programs across the city.
The church has told the city that the charitable arm is not willing to ignore one the tenets of the church to recognize gay marriage and will leave the city, taking all the services it provides with it. The gay marriage initiative has been gaining steam and the city council will be voting on this in short order. The council is unwilling to bring this to ballot for vote, because it is widely believed it would not pass. While Washington is about 90% democratic, the liberalism does not seem to extend to gay marriage. All polls show that the vote would not only fail, but fail by a large margin.
The district does not have the infrastructure to continue many of these services if Catholic Charities pulls out. The district, like many other cities, has a great deal of waste and fraud in the running of city programs. The city depends on private charities to funnel the money to the most vulnerable in an efficient manner. Catholic Charities records show that .90 of every dollar they get goes directly to the poor. The District has made a conscience choice to choose a statement about gay marriage instead of helping the poor and the ill.
After passing the city council, the bill would have to be approved by congress before being enacted. One can only hope that they realize Catholic Charities will continue to thrive and grow if they leave. The needy in the district may not be so lucky.