Jay Richards points out:
That means a further secularization of charity.
The debate over marriage is about far, far more than what consenting adults do behind closed doors. In fact, it’s not about that at all. Witness the debate over Washington D.C.’s same-sex marriage law. The Left frames it as a simple matter of individual rights, but it’s really an opportunity to increase the jurisdiction of government and squeeze out private, religious charities.
In this case, Catholic Charities’ foster care program is getting the squeeze. The District has refused to provide a religious exemption to religious charities not willing to fudge their non-negotiable teachings on marriage. So the charity is going to lose $2 million in public funding, which means it has to close its operation in D.C. Dozens of other Catholic Charities programs now hang in the balance.
The District government seems to have contempt for the work of the charity:
Councilman David Catania, author of D.C.’s same-sex “marriage” bill, shrugged off the Church’s impact. “[Catholic Charities doesn't] represent, in my mind, an indispensable component of our social services infrastructure.”
Perhaps Catania doesn’t know that in the “last year alone, more than 124,000 people were fed, housed, treated, legally defended, or adopted as a result of Catholic Charities programs,” or maybe he thinks his cause should trump the well-being of such recipients. Or, maybe he thinks that the D.C. government can do a better job. We’ll see about that.
This incident causes me to question (once again) the wisdom of private religious charities receiving public funding, even for programs with secular purposes. I don’t think it unconstitutional to receive such funding. It’s just dangerous for religious charities that don’t want to become secular.
But more importantly, the incident shows that the debate over the definition of marriage is not about privacy, but about the relative role of the state, civil society, and nature of American public life from top to bottom. To put it bluntly, to impose a new definition of marriage on society, traditional religion must by necessity be purged from public life.
And as Richards' notes, it points out the problematic consequences of religious groups receiving government monies to help the poor. Liberals aren't concerned with helping the poor as much as they are with pressing their ideological agenda.