Massachusetts Queer Wins Discrimination Suit Against Catholic School

[Story, with gross photo: ]


The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today condemned the decision of Norfolk County Superior Court Justice Douglas H. Wilkins in Barrett v. Fontbonne Academy, which granted summary judgment to a homosexual man who sued the Catholic school — administered by the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston — after it reversed a decision to hire him upon learning that he had contracted a civilly recognized marriage with another man.

In June, 2013, Michael Barrett of Dorchester applied for the position of Food Services Director at Fontbonne Academy in Milton. On July 9, 2013, following an interview during which Barrett responded affirmatively to a question about his support for the principle that all employees of the Catholic school should be “ministers of the mission,” Barrett was offered and accepted the position for which he had applied.

Later that same day, Barrett completed a new hire form in which he listed his civil husband as an emergency contact. On July 12, 2013, Barrett was informed that he could not be hired because his homosexual relationship was incompatible with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Barrett, represented by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAAD), brought suit against Fontbonne Academy, alleging discrimination in employment.

In finding for Barrett, Judge Wilkins — a Governor Deval Patrick appointee who served as First Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General L. Scott Harshbarger — ruled that the Catholic school violated Massachusetts anti-discrimination law, was not exempt as a religious institution from that law, and enjoyed no constitutional protections in this matter.

The Catholic Action League called Judge Wilkins decision “a frontal assault on religious freedom, an appalling subordination of the First Amendment to the Massachusetts gay rights law, and a victory by homosexual activists in their campaign to coerce Christians into compliance with same sex marriage.”

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “Religious liberty is guaranteed not only by the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but even more broadly, by Article II of the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution. Religious freedom consists not merely of the right to worship, but of the right of religious institutions to govern their internal affairs free of state interference.”

“Judge Wilkins’s decision would compel Catholic institutions to hire those who reject and despise Catholic teaching, fatally impairing the constitutionally protected right of those institutions to carry on their mission. This is precisely the sort of ‘excessive entanglement’ of government with religion decried and prohibited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman.”

“The judge’s ruling does underscore two facts — the charade-like character of the religious exemption to the 1989 Bay State gay rights law, which we warned against at the time, and the prophetic nature of the dissenting opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas in Obergefell, which held that same gender marriage will have ‘potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.’”

Get AQ Email Updates

4 comments on “Massachusetts Queer Wins Discrimination Suit Against Catholic School

  1. Sodomy and sodomarriage are [federal-]constitutionally-protected rights which supersede the
    First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Article II of the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution, because they were recognized as such more recently than those archaic parts of the federal and state constitutions.

  2. I hope they appeal this. The Massachusetts Supreme Court is fag friendly, so they’ll lose on the state level, but hopefully the SCOTUS someday will rule on this favorably for the school. and for “religious liberty” (though I’m not holding my breath.

  3. All I can say is whatever goes around, comes around with respect to Massachusetts politics. From the days when James Michael Curley was re-elected while serving a federal prison term for felony-fraud, the bay state has been plagued by a veritable rogues gallery of politicians and churchmen. I, too, am not holding my breath that this ruling will be reversed.

  4. I read the comments below the article itself. There are some good ones by a seminarian in…Nigeria! but then the usual suspects start attacking him and everyone else who oppose hiring homosexuals, specifically this school. However, what I partly looked for and of course found, was that same old thing about, oh but look at all the gay priests in the Catholic Church…I just do not know how to talk back about this any more. Jokes about priests and children have become a cultural joke, for instance when I go to an AA meeting all someone has to say is “I grew up Catholic and was an altar boy” and instantly, without further comment everyone assumes he was abused by a priest, and much bitter and dirty laughter ensues. I’ve tried hijacking meetings with defense of the priests, but that just makes people mad. Most of the comments in this article assume that being gay is just fine. I don’t know what to say anymore, how to defend the priesthood any more. Though I have to say, about this, I agree with the person who said you should not have an offer rescinded because of your emergency contact, unless he lied about being married altogether…because if he lied about that he will lie about something else, and who knows, he may have gone to a Catholic school with infiltration in mind, “Look at me! I’m gay and work in a Catholic School, so they don’t really mean they are opposed to Gays.”

Leave a Reply