''We might not be an official group, but we're winning. We have our own community.... It's empowering.''
Robby Diesu, a senior at Catholic University, speaking with the Washington Post about a gay student organization that meets on campus. The article covers the students' efforts as they work toward greater visibility and acceptance despite official restrictions and a somewhat unfriendly atmosphere. The Post has a second piece on Georgetown University, another campus in DC, which is also a Catholic institution yet appears to be more receptive to the needs of gay students than CUA. (Washington Post) (Washington Post)
The Catholic Church has come into the spotlight since the Archdiocese of Washington and it's community outreach program, Catholic Charities, threatened to discontinue services to the city's needy if gay marriage passes in the District. Despite requesting and receiving a huge concession in the bill from the DC Council, the response from the Catholic hierarchy, according to Councilman David Catania, was a non-reaction to his repeated attempts at official communications. The Council approved a preliminary vote two weeks ago, and is expected to finalize its decision with a second vote very soon. Catholic Charities maintains that it is being "forced" into the situation, and that it cannot possibly provide spousal benefits to same-sex partners of its own employees, nor could they ever provide adoption or foster services for legally married lesbians or gay men, as will be required by law of any organization that receives tax-payer funds to provide public services. The Council has said it will seek alternative service providers but has not named any yet that qualify for the many millions of dollars that have been granted to Catholic Charities. Council Chairman Vincent Gray is still seeking a legitimate way to work out the differences between the Church's claims of religious freedom to discriminate and the city's requirements for equal treatment and protection.