The evangelical nonprofit organization is facing a major showdown with the city over a bill that would force it to offer health benefits to gay and unwed spouses of New York staffers.
If the organization leaves town, it would give up $70 million a year in city funding.
The loss of public financing – half the Army’s yearly budget in the city – would cripple its programs, which serve 5 million New Yorkers, the group says.
Salvation Army insiders said they will refuse to comply with the proposed law because it goes against one of the organization’s core beliefs – that marriage is for straight couples only.
“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.”
The result could be a nightmare scenario for needy New Yorkers.
One of the largest private providers in the city, the Salvation Army answers the call for the homeless, HIV sufferers, foster-care kids and troubled teens.
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.
Salvation Army leaders have been debating the issue and are hoping for an exemption that would allow them to continue to operate here without offering the benefits.
But they’re recognizing that the existing bill, approved 43 to 5 by the City Council on May 5, has enough council support to overrule the veto that Mayor Bloomberg has vowed.
Good for them. They understand that you are not allowed to do evil so that good shall come. Back in the 80s Cardinal O�Connor when confronted with a similar issue by the New York Legislature threatened to shut down all the Catholic hospitals in NYC. They then backed off. Unfortunately I doubt if I will see a similar headline with Catholic Charities in New York threatening to leave. If this new law would apply to the Salvation Army it most likely also apply to Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities in California was ordered by the California Supreme Court to start providing contraceptive coverage for its employees and I have not heard them saying they will shut down.