E.D. Kain tries to sort through the commentary around the Catholic church stopping social services in DC if marriage equality is adopted in the district:

The spin on the D.C. story is that the Church is refusing to provide charitable services if gay marriage is passed there.  This is simply not true.  It is the city threatening to withdraw its contracts from Catholic Charities if the Church doesn’t change to meet the new rules.  Do I think the Church should change?  Yes.  Do I think they will?  No.  Do I think it’s up to the D.C. City Counsel to make them change?  No.  But it certainly is their right to not fund Catholic Charities if they don’t change to meet those rules.

There’s lots of spin to all of this.  If people want to be upset by the Church not accepting gay marriage – fine.  But as I’ve said before, people can’t have it both ways.  They can’t also be mad that the Church won’t get contracts to continue its management of D.C. charities.  Indeed, if not for the spin, people would be happy that more ties between church and state have been severed.  Obviously any attempt to mix the two comes with too much baggage for all parties involved to be happy.  Unfortunately, some good things come from it as well – namely, many poor people are helped through these charities.  And they will be the ones to suffer the effects of these ideological battles.

Kain says that "the city threatening to withdraw its contracts from Catholic Charities if the Church doesn’t change to meet the new rules," but all the city is doing is enforcing laws, and the church could change its policies to meet the law. The Dish has been searching for a legal analysis of this story. The only parallel that springs to mind is the church ending adoption services in Massachusetts because of marriage equality, but in DC the church would end services, such as assistance to the poor, very tangentially related to marriage. Presumably, the church could end its adoption services in DC, if it was so inclined, but continue its other charitable works. But the Washington Post story makes it sound like this is unpalatable because (gasp) a gay employee of the church might request health care benefits for a spouse. Is that really the ground on which the church wants to fight this battle?

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