In a move that is likely to infuriate millions of Catholics nationwide, the Michigan Catholic Church has announced it will expand health benefits to gay couples, despite the church’s strong stance against gay marriage.
From The Christian Times:
The Catholic Church in Michigan has sent out a letter this week announcing its plan to expand healthcare benefits to gay couples.
In a letter sent to pastors and employees recently, the Michigan Catholic Conference said it will revise its health coverage so that financially interdependent individuals regardless of sexual orientation will be able to qualify for it. This includes individuals over 18 who have cohabited with a Church employee for at least six months, and married gay couples.
This is not only applicable to individuals with a sexual relationship with a Church employee because it would also include family members or relatives living with the employee.
“The inclusion of the LDA (Legally Domiciled Adults) benefit allows for the MCC health plan to be both legally compliant and consistent with church teaching,” the Conference’s letter reads.
The modification was applauded by some LGBT rights campaigners, but there are still others who are pushing for more changes. New Ways Ministry, a Maryland-based group which promotes gay equality rights, wants the Catholic Church to officially recognize and accept same-sex relationships and gay marriages, the Detroit Free Press reports.
While New Ways Ministry executive director Francis DeBernardo commended the move, he also expressed their hope that the Church would explicitly support gay couples.
The changes announced by the Michigan Catholic Church come in the wake of the legalization of same-sex marriage last year. Previously, the Church’s health insurance plans for its employees only covered spouses and children born within a marriage between a man and a woman, the report adds.
Meanwhile, Michigan Catholic Conference comms director Dave Maluchnik said the modification in the health benefit inclusion does not change the Church’s stance on marriage and sexuality. He emphasized that the reason for the change is to comply with the federal law and that they still teach the biblical definition of marriage; that it is a union between one man and one woman.
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