Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Letter from Bishop Knestout: "Setting the Record Straight: Same-Sex Marriage Bill & Social Services"

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Recent news reports have mistakenly claimed that the Archdiocese of Washington and its social services arm, Catholic Charities, are threatening to cease providing social services in the District of Columbia if the proposed bill to legalize same sex marriage is passed.

Catholic Charities is not threatening to end its services if a same sex marriage bill passes. Catholic Charities is vowing to continue its services even if a same sex marriage bill passes. However, the bill, as it now reads, will diminish the resources we have to do so. Why is that so? Because without a meaningful religious exemption in the bill, Catholic Charities and other similar religious providers will become ineligible for contracts, grants and licenses to continue those services.

What we have said to the Council is this: While we are opposed to redefining marriage in the District of Columbia, if the Council moves forward to do so, we respectfully request that religious individuals and organizations be afforded protection from restrictions on their deeply held religious beliefs and that the Council preserve the ability of Catholic Charities and other providers to continue to serve the growing and unmet needs of the poor and most vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia.

Attached is a fact sheet (click here to read fact sheet) with further information that we hope may assist you in understanding the issues. Please share this with your colleagues, friends, and others. Additional information, including testimony, press releases and other material, is available at www.marriagemattersdc.org.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia

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