November 13, 2009
…about to put up a post that was all outraged and thinky about the Archdiocese of Washington and the whole social-services-contracts vs. same-sex-marriage thing. And how annoyed I was at the Church for threatening to withdraw from those contracts if DC passed the laws permitting same-sex marriage.
Because I? Am totally for anyone getting married who wants to. I mean, I have my own personal opinions on what people should probably think about before they do that, but I don’t really care so much about the chromosomal makeup of the parties involved.
And then I read something suggesting that it’s actually the District that would end the contracts if the Church didn’t modify the definition of marriage that it’s held for… well… yeah. The Church has been around for a long time. And I don’t really agree with their stance on this, but… it’s a religion. And people have a right to be religious ignoramuses if they want, and I have a right to not associate with them. And some other states have granted limited exceptions on these issues to make sure that the homeless continue to have some refuge – in the District, these exceptions would mean millions of dollars in social services, to people who really really need them. As I understand it, it also means that the Church wouldn’t marry same-sex couples, wouldn’t provide benefits, as a private employer, to same-sex spouses of Church employees, etc.
And so, it seems like it’s a lot more complicated than it looks, on the surface. Because, well, people should be able to get married, and have those marriages mean something to employers who have benefits plans. But religions shouldn’t have to change basic tenets in order to do good things for people, at least some of whom would likely die without those good things. And practically speaking, it’s hard to say that the District would be right in denying someone food, because someone else couldn’t get health insurance. I don’t know if it’s impossible to say that, but I definitely find it hard.
So, I’m not so sure where I stand on the issue now, given how strongly I support the 1st Amendment, and how strongly I support people in love being able to make a lifelong commitment to each other and attain the social benefits thereof, and how strongly I support people having food to eat, and a place to sleep at night. Maybe the misery of the population whose lives are normally improved through those services, some of whom are undoubtedly same-sex couples themselves, is the price we have to pay for equality AND freedom of religion to coexist.
I just really hope not.