Notre Dame Gives Benefits to Same-Sex Partners

Last fall, the University of Notre Dame, one of the premiere Catholic universities in the country, decided to extend benefits to the same-sex spouses of faculty and staff after the federal courts overturned Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court rejected a request for a stay of the lower court rulings.

University of Notre Dame told its employees Wednesday it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses, following a Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in Indiana.

The Catholic school in South Bend, Indiana, emailed benefits-eligible employees about the change Wednesday evening, two days after the Supreme Court declined to hear appeals on decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and 10 other states, effectively legalizing it in those places.

“Notre Dame is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage. However, it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately,” the email said…

“As a Catholic University, we’re aware of the church’s teachings, but we’re also aware of our obligation under civil law,” Jack Dunn, director of public affairs for Boston College, told NBC News.

But in reality, Notre Dame, as a private religious college, would almost certainly not have to grant such benefits if it did not choose to do so. Indeed, there is no Indiana law that would compel such benefits on the part of any private company either. This has prompted a furious response from three ND professors, law professors Gerard V. Bradley and John Finnis and political science professor Daniel Philpott. In an essay at The Public Discourse, they rail against that decision as contrary to church teachings.

When a university’s administration, knowing that “same-sex marriages” are in a Catholic understanding not truly marriages at all, nonetheless gives without legal coercion many signs and solid tokens of approving such commitments to non-marital sex acts, everyone can readily infer that the university actually does not regard any kind of sex acts between adults as grave matter, provided that these acts are consensual and, perhaps, linked to some notion of commitment. This inference and its logic apply to the vast majority of its students whose inclinations are heterosexual, and whose temptations—enhanced by the perceived indifference of the university—are rather to fornication (and pornography and self-abuse) than to sodomy….

The baneful effects of this structure of sin will be difficult to contain. It will be reinforced, for instance, if and when such a university accepts that an open commitment to an unchristian kind of sexual relationship is little or no impediment to being appointed to holding high office and high academic posts in it….

By extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples, a university would directly cooperate in, encourage, and promote the grave injustices committed by those of its employees who, deeming themselves (and being legally deemed) married, will—usually in circumstances utterly remote from emergency rescue of orphans—adopt children. Even worse, some couples may use third-party reproduction to create children with the intent to bring them up motherless (if the couple is male) or fatherless (if the couple is female) and in a domestic educational context of active approval of intrinsically immoral sex. No Christian institution should ever cooperate with such gratuitous wronging of children….

Finally, institutions that assimilate civil same-sex “marriage” into the category of true marriage will lose their credibility in the fight to defend religious freedom against the federal judiciary, powerful currents of influence, and coercive laws.

Mmmmm, Catholic tears taste better than holy water.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • anubisprime

    That is quite telling…an RC institution recognizing the law as it stands.

    And apart from a few whining dingbats, as religio idiots usually do, it is a tacit acceptance by the board that the battle is lost and the war drawing to a triumphant closure for their traditional enemy.

    Very much a case of…

    ‘The world is changed, I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost; for none now live who remember it.’

  • garnetstar

    Thanks for joining the 21st century, Notre Dame.

    So now, how about taking a sane stance on birth control? Include it in your health plans or sign the damn opt-out and let the insurance companies provide it, either way, without whining.

    Because control of women’s reproductive lives is *much* more important to the church. That’s the real reason, isn’t it? Let those gay people get up to any antics they like, it’s having complete control of reproduction that you’re interested in.

  • cptdoom

    This is in direct contrast to places like San Francisco and Cincinnati, where local church leaders are demanding teachers sign contracts that 1) declare them to have jobs that have ministry as part of their responsibilities and 2) make clear that teachers, even non-Catholic ones, cannot publicly endorse any position – including marriage equality and the use of reproductive technologies (which Cordileone in San Francisco stated were “evil” (imagine being a kid in one of his high schools whose parents used such technology to conceive you – now you’re the product of “evil.”). At least one teach in Cincinnati who had a gay son quit because the implication was she couldn’t support her son or his rights and still teach at the school. The moves are also designed to ensure the church can bypass any and all employment laws to fire at will any teacher at any time. Once they are all considered “ministers” then applicable anti-discrimination laws are moot.

    These moves may be completely legal, but they send a really nasty message, especially to the kids being educated in these institutions. Apparently they should believe there are people who, while having the legal right to exist, must be considered so disgusting and immoral that they must be shunned. That’s right in keeping with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who taught “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” right?

    This is apparently the direction in which these Notre Dame professors want the university to move, but I bet the university knows the competition for top faculty and student athletes is fierce enough at the college level to compel them to match the benefits of other colleges.

  • theguy

    “a university would directly cooperate in, encourage, and promote the grave injustices committed by those of its employees who”

    You mean like child rape, which the Catholic church covered up for decades? No? You mean two consenting adults having non-procreative sex? Well then fuck you (but not really).

    What sort of hypocritical liar refers to gay relationships as “injustice?” Hint, something like oppression counts as injustice because somebody’s being persecuted. And no, not being allowed to discriminate doesn’t count.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001161207387 tomcoward

    My mother recently sent me a newspaper clipping with an interview with the newly appointed President of the small, American Baptist-affiliated college in Indiana that I attended. The interview included, completely off-hand, the information about his husband. I had to google them both to make sure one of them was not a woman with an unusual name. The times are indeed changing.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Back when I was an architect, I designed a “structure of sin”. 2 car garage, 3 bed, 3 1/2 baths, walk-in closet, south-facing sunroom, Hell-facing sinroom. It was pretty sweet.

  • David C Brayton

    Notre Dame is way behind the times even with respect to other Roman Catholic educational institutions

    I attended law school at Catholic institution, the University of San Diego. I really enjoyed my time there. It was a great place to learn. There is no requirement that students or faculty be of any faith or actually practice any religion. They actually value a diverse workforce and student body. And it wasn’t just words; they backed it up with affirmative action.

    The University’s equal opportunity and affirmative policy includes gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation and they provide benefits to same-sex partners. Whilst I don’t know when this was added, I suspect it was probably done in the ’90s.

  • zenlike

    Daniel Philpott is also the director of the Orwellian-named “Center for Civil and Human Rights”. Law professors Gerard V. Bradley thinks the government should allow clearly sectarian prayers because ‘majority rules’. You can’t make this shit up. Would-be theocrats whining about “religious freedom” while wanting to force their particular religion down everyone’s throat, with the full force of the government behind them.

  • otrame

    @6

    Mmmm. I love a well-designed sin room.

  • matty1

    Noooooo, not rescuing orphans. Who could support such evil?

  • eric

    Even worse, some couples may use third-party reproduction to create children with the intent to bring them up motherless (if the couple is male) or fatherless (if the couple is female) and in a domestic educational context of active approval of intrinsically immoral sex. No Christian institution should ever cooperate with such gratuitous wronging of children….

    IOW, “if having the church steal the children away from single mothers was good enough for my grandpappy, it’s good enough for me!”

  • John Pieret

    the university actually does not regard any kind of sex acts between adults as grave matter, provided that these acts are consensual and, perhaps, linked to some notion of commitment

    And the problem is? …

    This inference and its logic apply to the vast majority of its students whose inclinations are heterosexual, and whose temptations—enhanced by the perceived indifference of the university—are rather to fornication (and pornography and self-abuse) than to sodomy….

    I grew up Catholic and I can assure these prudes that we Catholic kids knew all about pornography and “self-abuse” [snigger] long before we reached college age and a great deal of our time as teens was taken up in trying to achieve “fornication.” In fact, in all likelihood, if these numbnutz were honest, the same could be said of them. In short, we did not need the “example” of gays loving each other enough to marry in order to do “what comes naturally.”

    the grave injustices committed by those of its employees who, … adopt children.

    Up to that point. they were being common assholes. Now, please find the horse you rode in on and nicely ask it to fuck you!

  • U Frood

    Same Sex marriages may not be real marriages in the eyes of the Catholic Church, but I assume Notre Dame doesn’t restrict its benefits to only Catholic marriages, granting benefits to its married faculty of other faiths or those who have married in civil ceremonies with no religious element at all. I bet they probably even give benefits to people who remarry after divorce, another type of marriage which the Catholic Church explicitly doesn’t recognize.

  • fusilier

    Fr, Hesburgh is smiling.

    He always said that “Notre Dame must be catholic, as well as Catholic.”

    fusilier, ND ’71

    James 2:24

  • abb3w

    @0, Ed Brayton

    But in reality, Notre Dame, as a private religious college, would almost certainly not have to grant such benefits if it did not choose to do so.

    I’m not so convinced of that. Discriminate in hiring, maybe; but discriminating in benefits once hired seems more likely to be legally problematic. Additionally, doing either might jeopardize eligibility for federal research grants, which currently ballparks $100M annually for the school.

  • Chiroptera

    tomcoward, #5:

    That doesn’t surprise me. Like many groups of people, Baptists range on the asshole scale from extreme to better than most people. There are liberal Baptists and liberal Baptist congregations.

    I recall that in the 1990s, a church in Tennesee was kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention because they defied warnings not to hire and retain a lesbian pastor.

  • Chiroptera

    Oops. I guess it was in 2003.

  • bryanfeir

    Well, my understanding is that Baptists as a whole believe in two things: adult baptism so the person can understand what they’re getting into, and a non-hierarchical bottom-up driven congregation.

    Southern Baptists, on the other hand, organized around finding biblical justifications for slavery, and have been co-opted entirely by political purposes over the last fifty years (if not more), becoming far more hierarchical and gatekeeper-driven over time.

  • jnorris

    Professors Bradley, Finnis, and Philpott don’t get out much. American Catholics have been thumping their noses at the dogma for a long while. Buy Bill Donohue a beer and let him cry you a river.

  • Michael Heath

    bryanfeir writes:

    Well, my understanding is that Baptists as a whole believe in two things: adult baptism so the person can understand what they’re getting into, and a non-hierarchical bottom-up driven congregation.

    No to the former, I’ll ignore the latter claim here.

    Baptists indoctrinate (effectively abuse) their children. It’s been both my experience and my observation they pressure their kids to be baptized when they’re teenagers.

    They do mouth the words that they want these kids to do it of their own volition. But all their other actions is an attempt to both put the fear of eternal suffering in those who don’t submit to baptism and the promise of rewards in this life and eternity for doing the same.

    I’m confident that how we look at those who lynched black people a century or so ago will be how moral people 100 years from now will look on how all evangelicals and fundamentalists currently abuse children under their control.