Gay man files complaint after Catholic school reneges on job offer

Feb 12, 2014
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A reveller waves a rainbow flag during the Gay Pride Parade in Medellin, Antioquia department, Colombia on June 30, 2013.; Credit: RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images

Matthew Barrett was elated when offered a job last year as food services director of Massachusetts Catholic school, Fontbonne Academy. As reported on NPR, Barrett started to prepare new-hire forms including listing his husband as an emergency contact.

Two days later, the school called him in to say the Catholic Church does not recognize same-sex marriage and he could not be hired. In a statement, the Academy explained it “does not discriminate based on sexual orientation but that Church doctrine against same-sex marriage drives policy at Fontbonne and other catholic schools.” Federal law exempts religious groups from most employment discrimination laws, but those exemptions tend to be used for leadership or teaching hires.

How much latitude should the school have? How does the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage interact with discrimination exemptions for religious organizations? Does a cafeteria manager’s same-sex marriage choice affect the teaching of the a Catholic school?


Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit organization that defends religious liberties and parental rights

Sarah Warbelow, State Legislative Director at Human Rights Campaign


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