Church Still Seeks Changes Before Same-Sex Marriage Vote

By Tom Sherwood
|  Monday, Nov 30, 2009  |  Updated 7:45 PM EDT
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DC Council Prepares for Gay Marriage Vote

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DC Council Prepares for Gay Marriage Vote

Ahead of an historic vote for the DC Council, Washington's Catholic Charities made one last appeal to change the bill that would legalize same-sex marriages in the District.
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The D.C. Council is expected to pass a law Tuesday allowing same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia.

The Catholic Church, which opposes the legislation, was still seeking change in the bill late Monday, and if the church doesn't get them, that could negatively affect the city's homeless.

Local Catholic Church officials met with D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson Monday. The Washington archdiocese wants the Catholic Church exempted from having to pay spousal benefits to any gay employees -- as the church doesn't recognize gay marriage -- and hopes to avoid being forced to handle gay adoptions.

The church warned that its social service arm -- Catholic Charities -- may have to withdraw from millions of dollars in public services to the poor and homeless that it provides if the legislation goes forward.

A majority of the council remains firmly behind the legislation and dismissed the prospect of services being cut off.

Both Councilman David Catania and Mendelson said the church should use the same policy as Georgetown University -- a Jesuit organization that does not officially recognize gay marriage but provides spouse-like benefits to its adult employees. A similar law allows such arrangements in San Francisco.

Catania, who introduced the bill, said he had not received any acceptable modifications from the church.
 

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