The Daily Parker

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March of Civil Rights

Citizens of the District of Columbia are now free to marry:

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to stop same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia, clearing the way for couples to register to wed beginning Wednesday. Equal-rights opponents in the capital had asked Chief Justice John Roberts to prevent the issuing of licenses until residents had voted on the issue. Lower courts had denied requests to place a moratorium on issuing of licenses.

"It has been the practice of the court to defer to the decisions of the courts of the District of Columbia on matters of exclusively local concern," wrote Roberts, who made the decision without bringing in the full court.

Roberts also cited the fact that although D.C. is autonomous, Congress could have passed a bill to disallow the city government from enacting the law, and it did not do so.

Marriages may be performed beginning March 9, as there is a waiting period of three business days after the issuance of licenses.

In response to the D.C. marriage equality law, Catholic Charities will no longer offer spousal benefits to any new or newly-married employees:

[On March 1st], Catholic Charities President and CEO Edward Orzechowski sent out a memo to staffers informing them of the change to the health care coverage, which will go into effect [March 2nd].

In short: If you and your spouse are already enrolled in Catholic Charities health coverage, your spouse will be grandfathered in. Starting tomorrow, however, new employees (or newly married employees, hint hint) will not be allowed to add spouses to the plan. So: Longtime employees will receive the spousal benefits they’ve always had; Catholic Charities will get to keep its pool of covered spouses gay-free; only fresh employees and gays will feel the sting on this one.

Orzechowski's memo to employees closes with, "Thank you for your understanding in this matter, and let me again express my appreciation for your support and patience over these past months as we have worked hard to arrive at a decision that allows us to continue to serve others in a manner that is consistent with our religious beliefs." Now, I'm not Christian, but I've read the instruction manual, and I'm not sure how exactly bigotry is consistent with it. But, you know, Orzechowski's a grown-up, he can make his own choices. Still, I'd pay real money to watch their financials over the next 24 months...

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