Former Catholic Charities chair says anti-gays lying about marriage laws

Every time marriage equality for gay couples is on the ballot in a state, Frank Schubert and the folks at the National Organization for Marriage, a religious right group, trot out the same old lie that marriage equality forces groups like Catholic Charities to stop providing social services.

This time, the former chair of the board of Catholic Charities of Boston, Peter Meade, is stepping up and calling that accusation a lie.

Marriage via Shutterstock

Responding to repeated claims that marriage equality forces Catholic Charities to stop providing services, Meade explained that the Vatican actually ended those services because it didn’t like the fact that abiding by local non-discrimination laws (not marriage legislation) Catholic Charities placed 13 children with same-sex couples over 17 years.  So the Vatican chose to shut down Catholic Charities’ adoption services.  It had nothing to do with marriage legislation.

From the Bangor Daily News:

Catholic Charities of Boston formerly held a state-issued contract funded by taxpayer dollars to provide adoption services, and placed 13 children with same-sex couples between 1989 and 2006. The work was done in accordance with a Massachusetts anti-discrimination law that requires taxpayer-funded services to be provided equitably and without regard to sexual orientation, among other things.

Meade said that the Vatican demanded in 2006 that Catholic Charities end its adoption service, despite a unanimous vote by the charity’s local board to continue adoptions.

Frankly, the only criteria for us was what was in the best interest of the child and we thought the Vatican was changing that,” said Meade. “People are suggesting in the campaign that it had something to do with the [same-sex marriage law] that allowed for marriage equality. That’s not correct.” [emphasis added]

Same thing happened in Illinois.  Catholic Charities didn’t like the fact that the state of Illinois has civil rights laws saying that if you receive money from the state to conduct charity activities, you’re not permitted to violate those civil rights laws.  So Catholic Charities (or now they’re claiming the Vatican) pulled the plug on their child services in Illinois too.  Again, it had nothing to do with marriage, and everything to do with Catholic Charities, and the Vatican, putting the interests of bigotry ahead the interests of children, while taking $2.8bn a year in taxpayer funds.

Surely this won’t stop the opposition from lying, but hopefully it gives the press ammo to call a lie a lie.


Born and raised in Maine, Nick Seaver moved to DC to study political communication in 2003. He began writing extensively on LGBT rights during the first ballot initiative in Maine that overturned marriage equality. He writes about a variety of issues, ranging from marriage to issues facing LGBT youth. Follow him on Twitter at @NDSeaver.

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