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Archdiocese Of Washington ends spousal benefits, citing gay marriage law

Archdiocese Of Washington ends spousal benefits, citing gay marriage law

The Archdiocese of Washington has changed its employee health care policy in the latest fallout from the District’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

As of Tuesday, Catholic Charities will no longer offer benefits to spouses of new employees or to spouses of current employees who are not already enrolled in the plan.

Under the District’s new same-sex marriage law, if companies and organizations offer benefits to spouses of its employees, those benefits now must be extended to the spouses of employees in same sex unions.

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl said Tuesday that the decision by Catholic Charities to change its health coverage to avoid offering benefits to same-sex spouses of its workers is justifiable under Catholic teaching as long as the employees are paid a just wage.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Susan Gibbs says currently about 10 percent of those employees have their spouses covered by their health care plan.

Catholic Charities, which provides services such as substance abuse treatment programs and shelters, employees some 850 people.

Last month, the Archdiocese announced it was shutting down its 80-year-old foster care program, also citing the District’s plan to legalize gay marriage.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected opponent’s request to block the District of Columbia’s gay marriage law, which takes effect on Wednesday.

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