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December 18, 2015

Gay Man Wins Case Over Lost Job at Mass. Catholic School

A Massachusetts court ruled Wednesday that a Catholic school illegally discriminated against a gay man by retracting a job offer after discovering he had a male spouse, The Boston Globe reports. Plaintiff Matthew Barrett's attorney and other employment lawyers said the decision was the first in the country which a judge rejected a faith organization's contention of a constitutional right not to hire people in same-sex marriages.

Fontbonne Academy in Milton, Mass., hired Mr. Barrett as its food-services director in 2013 but pulled the offer days later, after he filled out paperwork listing his husband as his emergency contact. The school said his marriage is inconsistent with its religious mission and contended that it is entitled to a religious exemption under Massachusetts' antidiscrimination law.

State Superior Court Judge Douglas H. Wilkins rejected those arguments, stating in a 21-page decision that that Fontbonne "retains control over its mission and message" and would only qualify for an exemption if it limited enrollment and all employment to members of one faith, rather than just administration, theology faculty, and mission and ministry staff.