New York City —
The Salvation Army is threatening to close soup kitchens for tens of thousands of New York's homeless and walk away from other projects if the city enacts legislation requiring firms that do business with New York to offer health benefits to the partners of gay staffers.
The evangelical faith is prepared to give up the $70 million a year in city funding it receives and pull out of New York entirely the New York Post reports.
With soup kitchens, shelters, foster care programs, and HIV services the Salvation Army is one of the largest private aid groups in New York serving some 5 million people annually.
The Salvation Army has several multiyear contracts with the city totaling $250 million. Six city contracts worth $12.8 million are to expire June 30, by which time the bill may be law.
New York City council overwhelmingly approved the legislation earlier this month, and it is sitting on the desk of mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg is opposed to the bill, even though his own company offers partner benefits. Even if the mayor vetoes the legislation, the support in council is considered sufficient to override it.
Quoting "Salvation Army insiders" the Post said the organization will refuse to comply with the proposed law because it goes against one of the organization's core beliefs - that same-sex marriage is immoral.
"The Army will not change its policy," said one official, who declined to be named.
"You cannot change theological views. Those are so deeply embedded, they form the root of the faith itself."
by Doug Windsor
New York Bureau