Perhaps the saddest thing in all this is the failure of the Archdiocesan leadership to make use of a commonplace of Roman Catholic ethics (the so-called Principle of Double Effect) to free themselves of the concerns that they are "supporting gay marriage" if they have to provide health-care benefits to same-sex spouses. If the intent is simply to provide employee benefits neutrally to all employees (as the civil law requires) any alleged "support" for gay marriage is incidental and it becomes an ethical non-issue.
The failure of the Archdiocese to make consistent use of this principle, which is long enshrined in official Roman Catholic teaching, is precisely what I mean by a disorder in thinking and application. The way around an ethical dilemma is there, ready to be put to use.
Moreover, the fair treatment of employees is, as a biblical and ethical principle, at least as foundational as the Roman Catholic reading of sexual morality, and thus an ideal candidate for the Double Effect principle, whereby an unintended evil can be accepted (if not ideal) in the interest of an intended good. The failure to make use of this principle is only exacerbated by the not-so-subtle threat from the Archdiocese to drop out of social service provision if it is forced to comply with the law.
It seems to me the Archbishop of Washington needs a good Jesuit lawyer.
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG