On July 9, 2013 Matthew Barrett accepted a food service job offered by Fontbonne Academy, a Catholic girls prep school in Milton, Massachusetts. When he filled out their standard employment paperwork, he listed Ed Suplee as his emergency contact and under “relationship” he wrote “husband.”
Within three days, the school rescinded their job offer due to his male marriage. The Boston Globe reported: “She [school administrator] said the Catholic religion doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, and that was her excuse. She said, ‘We cannot hire you.’ ”
Six months later Matthew Barrett registered a complaint against the school for rescinding the job offer, claiming he was discriminated against because he was “gay.” Barrett’s complaint form states: “I learned that Fontbonne would no longer hire me because I am gay and married to a man…I believe that I was terminated, in violation of Massachusetts law, because I am gay.”
Redefining marriage means redefining religion
Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) are representing Barrett. Regarding marriage, GLAD promotes segregating people by gender and by sexual orientation. GLAD argued:
“Religiously affiliated entities do not have a free pass to do as they please in how they treat employees, particularly when it comes to our important laws against discrimination,” said Bennett Klein, GLAD Senior Attorney. “Our laws carefully balance the important values of religious liberty and non-discrimination. When Fontbonne Academy fired Matt from a job that has nothing to do with religion, they came down on the wrong side of the law.”
The Catholic Church calls all people to holiness, whether they are teaching religion, history, or providing meals. Since they are role models for youth, employees’ behavior matters very much, not just to school administrators, but also to the students themselves and their parents. A job at a Catholic school has everything to do with religion.
However, gay rights advocates such as GLAD work to limit religious liberty to an hour of worship on Sunday, as if faith were unrelated to actions during the rest of the week. Through complaints and lawsuits, they seek to rewrite the religious faith of others. Because they believe in male marriage, they want to force others to believe in it also.
According to the Boston Globe, Barrett “said he was told by school officials that employees recognize church doctrine, but he believed that meant participating in prayers.”
Catholic doctrine entails much more than “participating in prayers.” It means following Christ 24/7, not just for an hour at church or forty hours of work. What priest would tell his flock not to sin on the job, but it’s okay to sin all they want at home and on the weekends?
The Church teaches that people with same sex attraction “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives.”
Part of fulfilling God’s will is not engaging in homosexual behavior which is “intrinsically disordered.” The catechism clarifies that homosexual acts are “contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
So how do we treat homosexuals with respect and compassion? Certainly not by lying to them and pretending that two men are exactly the same as a man and woman.
Instead we can acknowledge their heavy cross, offer help, and tell them the truth. People with same sex attraction, like the rest of the faithful, are called to chastity and holiness. As Pope Francis commented about the inclination to homosexuality, “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?”
Is Barrett seeking the Lord or a lawsuit?
In the quest for holiness, the Church has zero tolerance for gender discrimination in marriage, such as male marriage or female marriage. So it is natural for a Catholic girls school to decide not to hire a man in a male marriage. What is astonishing is that Barrett would be surprised at the Church’s adherence to pro-gender marriage. The campaigning website Mass Resistance commented:
Barrett claimed to be shocked by the school’s action. But it appears that he was purposefully dishonest. He told the Boston Globe that he was raised a Catholic and that he was informed by school officials during the interview process that employees are expected to follow Catholic doctrine. However, he did not tell the school that he was openly involved with homosexual behavior and was in a “gay marriage.” Those, of course, are serious violations of Catholic teaching.
Being gay doesn’t mean it’s OK to discriminate
Some gay men believe that because they don’t like women sexually, that gives them the right to discriminate against women in the public institution of marriage. How ironic that Barrett’s complaint targets a girls’ school. By forming a male “marriage,” Barrett teaches impressionable young ladies that they are irrelevant when it comes to marriage, that mothers are superfluous to children, that families ought to exclude females.
Does GLAD believe it is sinful to discriminate against men in male marriages, but it is good to discriminate against women in the institution of marriage? In other words, Barrett’s right to male marriage trumps a girls’ school’s right to support women in marriage?
Massachusetts law lists gender as well as sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination law. When it comes to gay rights activists promoting the segregation of homosexuals in marriage versus Catholic schools defending pro-gender marriage, which will prevail? Segregation or integration? Religious liberty or coerced faith in anti-gender marriage? Discrimination against male marriage, or discrimination against women and against the Catholic schools that advocate for women?
It is crucial to note that the state law also protects against religious discrimination. Do gays have the right to force religious-based schools to hire men in male marriages in direct violation of their faith and their belief in gender integration in marriage?
Let’s hope Massachusetts comes down on the right side of religious liberty, support for women in marriage, and protection against both gender and religious discrimination.
Kelly Bartlett has been practicing life, love, and marriage for decades, hoping to improve her game. She writes from Vermont. She blogs at Home Griddle, where this was originally posted.