Here's the former COO of Catholic Charities, which just decided to stop giving everyone health care benefits because of same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination legislation:
Some, including the archbishop, have argued that by providing health care to a gay or lesbian spouse we are somehow legitimizing gay marriage. 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.
We have a health care system in the US that's based, for better or for worse, on people's employer and marital partner. I don't like that system, and the majority of Americans don't like that system, but, well, it's not like that system, with the huge sacks of money it moves from working Americans to the rich each year, is going to come to an end any time soon.
But an employer providing health care is not an endorsement of America's health care system any more than a Catholic group providing health care for a same-sex partner is an endorsement of homosexuality. And the Catholic Charities knows that - plenty of Catholic organizations have found creative ways around those laws or have just expanded the benefits they give out to include more people than same-sex partners so that it's not specifically about conjugal relationships. They really can't blame their doctrine when other organizations operating under the same doctrine come to better conclusions.
As Nancy Polikoff pointed out last week, their position is so out of line with the reality of the law that their argument has to be disingenuous:
Catholic Charities could have taken advantage of a complex federal law that would have removed it from local anti-discrimination laws (that's what Catholic Charities of Portland, Maine did so that it would not have to comply with Portland's mandate to cover same-sex couples). Or it could have allowed employees to cover another adult in their household as Georgetown University has done. So the decision to disadvantage married heterosexuals was a choice. And it's a choice invidiously designed to breed resentment towards the agency's gay employees, perhaps disguising the real benefit to the agency -- lowering costs by providing fewer benefits to employees.
I agree, and considering the huge and public way Catholic Charities has been going about their decision-making, with press releases and warnings and hand-wringing, it's fairly obvious that they're looking for attention more than they're actually concerned with morality.
The ultimate gain for conservatives here is the way that health care benefits have been politicized. We're not even considering the fact that those benefits mean real access for real sick people to real treatment and real doctors; instead they've been used as a symbol of approval or disapproval, a tool for getting people to fall in line with a powerful entity's agenda. The fact that Catholic Charities' decision could cause some people to die (since I'm sure they'll still be able hire people who either completely believe in their mission or who don't think they'll get sick, even though everyone thinks that) is simply icing on the cake - how often can Respectable and Moral institutions put people's lives at risk in order to advance a political agenda?
It seems to me like Catholic Charities made a great argument for why it shouldn't get government money to do social work. They win all around with this decision, by saving money on health care benefits that are getting more expensive every day, by creating resentment among straight employees for LGBT rights as they see a good organization forced to cut benefits, and by making a very public decision that makes it seem like the DC City Council choose gays over children. But should social charities really be making decisions that way?