Catholic World News

Massachusetts court rules Catholic school cannot fire openly gay employee

December 18, 2015

A Massachusetts court has ruled that a Catholic school cannot refuse to hire an openly homosexual employee.

Michael Barrett brought suit against Fontbonne Academy when he was dismissed, shortly after being hired to supervise food services, because the school learned that he had a partner in a same-sex marriage. Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled that the firing was a violation of the Massachusetts gay-rights law.

The court rejected Fontbonne Academy’s argument that the school qualified for a religious exemption from the anti-discrimination law. That law, Judge Douglas said, applied only to institutions that “limit membership, enrollment, admission, or participation to members of that religion,” whereas Fontbonne, like virtually all Catholic schools, is open to non-Catholic students.

The judge also rejected the argument that Fontbonne’s independent hiring decisions are protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. He observed that the school retains its Catholic identity and “is not forced to allow Barrett to dilute that message, where he will not be a teacher, minister, or spokesman…”


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  • Posted by: brenda22890 - Dec. 21, 2015 9:55 AM ET USA

    K know many will disagree (including the Holy Father), but Catholic schools will need to make a decision to 1) stop accepting government funds and 2) stop admitting students who are not Catholic. The failure to make these hard choices will be the end of Catholic education.

  • Posted by: aclune9083 - Dec. 20, 2015 7:26 PM ET USA

    It's uber-liberal Massachusetts. What does anyone expect? Let's see what happens on appeal.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 19, 2015 6:13 AM ET USA

    Evil systems cannot allow those ruled by God's natural law to exist separately. They must strive to force everyone to go beyond "tolerance" to acceptance and embracing the evil actions. This is a dangerous precedent.