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Catholics for Choice Supports DC Council on Civil Marriage Equality

December 1, 2009

Washington DC – Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement on the Civil Marriage Equality vote by the DC council:

“Today, in the face of protests, threats and attempts by the archdiocesan officials to withdraw from social service provision in DC, the city council put the interests of their constituents above the demands of a minority view that aimed to disenfranchise the needs and rights of residents of the District. The Council weighed the views presented to it, and decided to stand both with the poor who need the city’s social services, and with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who deserve the same rights and protections as all DC residents. We thank the council for its vote of 11-2 to pass the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009 (18-482) upon first reading.

“Archdiocesan officials who urged the council to vote against this measure do not speak for the majority of Catholics in Washington or across the country. We know that Catholics support social justice, both for the poor and for the LGBT community. As this bill goes through a second vote, signature by the mayor’s office and review by Congress, we need policymakers and community leaders to continue to stand up and speak out against all forms of discrimination.

“We urge the archdiocese and the leadership of Catholic Charities in Washington to consider the full range of needs and civil rights of the city’s residents. The Council makes reasonable accommodations to religious traditions in the legislation, and we hope that the archdiocese will likewise accommodate the needs of the rich and diverse society in which we live. We at Catholics for Choice will continue to support initiatives that provide services to all those who need them while requiring that service providers ensure equal rights for LGBT people.”