A leading Catholic bishop in Indiana has criticized Notre Dame’s decision to extend benefits to same-sex spouses after a Supreme Court ruling forced the state to legalize gay marriage.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades has accused the college of rushing into the decision in an article for his diocesan newspaper in Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Bishop Rhoades, know to be an arch conservative said he believes University of Notre Dame leaders should have waited before extending the benefits to same-sex spouses according to a report at Indystar.com.
The Bishop wrote in the diocese newspaper that he’s uncertain about the impact of gay marriage legalization in the state on religious institutions.
He said: “I would like to see further study of what the law requires as well as what religious liberty protections Notre Dame and our other Catholics institutions have so as not to be compelled to cooperate in the application of the law redefining marriage.
“I believe it is important for Notre Dame to affirm its fidelity to Catholic teaching on the true nature of marriage as a union of one man and one woman.”
Notre Dame’s President Rev. John Jenkins has insisted he consulted with the Bishop before the policy change was made public.
In a statement, Rev. Jenkins said he consulted with Bishop Rhoades before and after announcing the policy.
The report adds that Bishop Rhoades doesn’t oversee Notre Dame, which is governed by an independent board of trustees.
Notre Dame spokesman Paul Browne said officials of the South Bend school believe the new policy doesn’t go against church teachings by providing the same benefits to all legally married couples.
Employees at Notre Dame were notified about the policy change last week, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider appeals of rulings throwing out gay marriage bans in Indiana and 10 other states.
The report adds that Saint Mary’s, a Catholic women’s college affiliated with Notre Dame, has adopted a similar policy.
The University of Saint Francis, a Catholic school in Fort Wayne, hasn’t made any decisions about benefits for married same-sex couples.Spokeswoman Trois Hart said: “We will be leaning heavily on guidance from the diocese.”