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Catholic Church Challenges DC Human Rights Act

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As the U.S. Supreme Court hears opening arguments in the case for marriage equality, the Catholic Church is challenging a human rights bill in the District of Columbia.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington and Catholic University of America president John Garvey stepped up opposition to the Human Rights Amendment Act, a piece of legislation that would repeal exemptions for religious institutions from the city’s gay nondiscrimination law.

The men, in an op-ed in the Washington Post, maintain human sexuality is not the same as discrimination.

“The law goes too far when it demands that the Church abandon its beliefs in the pursuit of an entirely novel state of equality,” Wuerl and Garvey write.

According to Zoey Di Mauro, a writer for the Catholic Standard Magazine, the Human Rights Amendment Act “would penalize Catholic and other religiously affiliated schools in the District of Columbia for not providing recognition, funding and facilities to groups that counter Church teaching on issues like marriage and human sexuality.”

The law, Di Mauro writes, would “make it illegal for a Catholic school in the District not to recognize a gay and lesbian student group.”

The Archdiocese of Washington, home to 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, states it is grateful for disapproval bills that have been lodged against the HRAA. Wuerl was elevated to the College of Cardinals in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. He participated in the March 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis.


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