KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Former Executive Criticizes Catholic Charities’ Gay Marriage Backlash

A former senior executive at Catholic Charities has spoken out against the group's decision to eliminate all health coverage for new spouses in Washington D.C. in order to avoid offering the same benefits to same-sex couples. Catholic Charities decided to change its benefits policy in response to the District's legalization of same-sex marriage, "a move designed to avoid legitimizing same-sex marriage," according to The Washington Post.

New employees' spouses, new spouses of old employees and the spouses of employees who are not currently enrolled in health benefits programs would not be able to receive coverage through the company under the new policy. Tim Sawina, the former chief operating officer, said the move would be "devastating." He said, "Providing health care to a gay or lesbian partner -- a basic human right, according to Church teaching -- is an end in itself and no more legitimizes that marriage than giving communion to a divorced person legitimizes divorce, or giving food or shelter to an alcoholic legitimizes alcoholism."

"The archdiocese responded to Sawina's letter Thursday, calling it an inaccurate portrayal of the Church's position"  (Wan and Boorstein, 3/5).

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