Catholic Charities ends benefits for spouses

UPDATE: Supreme Court refuses to block same sex marriage law in DC.

According to the Washington Post, Catholic Charities, Washington DC, says they will not offer benefits to spouses of newly hired lay employees not to those spouses not currently enrolled in their plans to comply with new non-discrimination laws in Washington DC and continue their $22 million social services contract with the city:

Employees at Catholic Charities were told Monday that the social services organization is changing its health coverage to avoid offering benefits to same-sex partners of its workers — the latest fallout from a bitter debate between District officials trying to legalize same-sex marriage and the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.

Starting Tuesday, Catholic Charities will not offer benefits to spouses of new employees or to spouses of current employees who are not already enrolled in the plan. A letter describing the change in health benefits was e-mailed to employees Monday, two days before same-sex marriage will become legal in the District.

“We looked at all the options and implications,” said the charity’s president, Edward J. Orzechowski. “This allows us to continue providing services, comply with the city’s new requirements and remain faithful to the church’s teaching.”

Catholic Charities, which receives $22 million from the city for social service programs, protested in the run-up to the council’s December vote to allow same-sex marriage, saying that it might not be able to continue its contracts with the city, including operating homeless shelters and facilitating city-sponsored adoptions. Being forced to recognize same-sex marriage, church officials said, could make it impossible for the church to be a city contractor because Catholic teaching opposes such unions.

Complete letter to staff here

The Friends of Jake blog comments on the “not so charitable Catholic Charities” and other choices they could have made.

More on the nationwide crackdown by Roman Catholic bishops on any using the Catholic “brand” at USAToday.

More background here

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