Redefined “Marriage” Drives D.C. Church Out of Adoption Services

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Legal Wrangling Continues Over Rights of Voters

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25 -- The Washington, D.C. Archdiocese has announced that, after 80 years of service, Catholic Charities ceased providing foster care and adoption services within the District effective February 1. A new law redefining marriage to accomodate same-sex couples taking effect on March 3 prohibits any organization providing services in the District from treating same-sex couples differently than married men and women. The D.C. City Council refused to make an exception for religious groups that provide services, forcing the current decision.

This is just one more example of how the effort to redefine marriage is undercutting the interest of children and can isolate the Church from serving some of the most poor and vulnerable in society. Previously, the Church has been forced out of providing adoption services in the Boston and San Francisco Archdioceses.

Other Marriage New

While the marriage trial to overturn Prop 8 is in recess in San Francisco, gay rights activists have continued their campaign to pressure voters into support for their agenda with Valentine’s Day protests at county clerks’ offices regarding marriage licenses from coast to coast.

In California, Equality California is also continuing door-to-door canvassing to build support for redefining marriage in preparation for ballot measure to redefine marriage to accomodate same-sex couples in 2010. See news video coverage in Fresno, CA.

In anticipation of the effort to redefine marriage to accomodate same-sex couples by the Washington City Council, a local citizens group, Stand4MarriageDC, led by Hope Christian Church Senior Pastor, Bishop Harry Jackson, collected enough signatures in September 2009 to put the definition of marriage on the ballot. The wording of the measure was the same California’s Prop 8 and Maine’s Question One that were adopted by the citizens of those states in 2008 and 2009 respectively. However, the appointed D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled that under the District’s Human Rights Act, it would be discriminatory to even let citizens vote on such a measure.

Bills have been introduced by Sen. Robert Bennett, R.-Utah, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R.-Utah in their respective houses that would clear the way for a citizens vote on marriage in our nation’s capital, but with the composition of the Congress and the disposition of the President on “gay rights” issues, success is unlikely.

The Alliance Defense Fund and Stand4MarriageDC filed suit in D.C. Superior Court on behalf of members of the citizens committee in January. Just this last Monday, the  court denied their request for summary judgment and an injunction to stay the law from going into effect next week pending resolution by the court of the rights of the voters under the D.C. Charter. That decision was appealed to the D.C. Court of Appeals.

Maryland AG Advocates Redefining Marriage

"In marriage, a husband and a wife make a public and reciprocal commitment, assuming duties to society, to themselves, and to their children. Society and the law reciprocate by bestowing on traditional marriage a privileged status that recognizes the essential role that families play in society. The family, based on marriage, is a natural institution that is prior to the state. As such, the reservation of marriage to the union of one man and one woman is a fact of nature, not a social prejudice.

"In recognition of the critical role marriage plays in the well being of future generations and a stable society, the Church advocates for public policies that protect traditional marriage and promote the security of the family." 

      Maryland Catholic Conference

Next door to D.C., the Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler issued an opinion favoring recognizing out-of-state same-sex “marriages” even though the Maryland law defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The Maryland Bishops issued a strong statement on Wednesday, February 24, appealing for citizens to contact their legislator in support SB 852 that would block implementation Gansler’s opinion. 

In addition to the importance of upholding the reality of traditional marriage, the bishops noted that Gansler’s opinion is a way to change state policy by circumventing the legislative process.

In their statement, the Maryland Bishops said, “Civil marriage is not simply a union of two people who love and are committed to each other. Marriage is invariably reserved to the union of one man and one woman because of their unique ability to bring children into the world, thus forming a stable and secure foundation for our society.”

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