Church-based institutions ponder same-sex benefits

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The spread of gay marriage is forcing universities and hospitals affiliated with conservative churches to face whether they’re now obligated to offer health benefits to spouses of gay and lesbian employees.

Many religious-based institutions are making no changes or sitting on the sideline. Some seem to be waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will settle whether gay couples should be able to marry in every state.

But a few church-affiliated universities have in recent months decided to extend benefits to same-sex spouses.

The University of Notre Dame almost immediately made the move after a court ruling in October cleared the way for gay marriage in Indiana.

Notre Dame’s decision angered some on campus and surprised even those who backed the idea.

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