Quantcast

Lesbian sues Kansas City diocese over firing - abc27 WHTM

Lesbian sues Kansas City diocese over firing

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

    Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:27 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:27:07 GMT
    A broken water main near the UCLA campus Tuesday sent a geyser of water some 30 feet into the air, forced the rescue of people trapped in underground parking garages and covered some of the best-known parts of...More >>
    A broken water main near the UCLA campus Tuesday sent a geyser of water some 30 feet into the air, trapping people in underground parking garages and covering some of the best-known parts of campus in water, including the...More >>
  • 4 teens charged with murder in USC student's death

    4 teens charged with murder in USC student's death

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:21 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:21:42 GMT
    Four teens were charged Tuesday with murder in the fatal beating of a University of Southern California graduate student with a baseball bat and wrench as he walked to his off-campus apartment after meeting with a...More >>
    Four teens were charged Tuesday with murder in the beating of a University of Southern California graduate student with a baseball bat and wrench as he walked to his off-campus apartment after meeting with a study group.More >>
  • Man wrongly imprisoned seeks millions from state

    Man wrongly imprisoned seeks millions from state

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:15:45 GMT
    A man who was imprisoned 21 years for a rape and murder he didn't commit is set to testify at a first-ever Connecticut hearing to determine how much he should be compensated.More >>
    A man cleared of murder and rape charges after being locked up for two decades made an emotional appeal for millions of dollars in compensation on Tuesday, telling the state claims commissioner about the fear he endured in...More >>
By RACHEL ZOLL
AP Religion Writer

A parish food pantry worker who was fired over her marriage to another woman sued the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Thursday, the latest in a growing number of clashes over gay rights between Roman Catholic leaders and their employees nationwide.

Colleen Simon, 57, said the diocese and the parish where she worked knew she was married and that her wife was a well-known community leader before Simon was hired. She was fired when the couple was mentioned last April in a newspaper article.

"I was mostly shell-shocked," Simon said. "I hadn't thought it would come to this."

Diocesan officials hadn't yet seen the lawsuit, but said in a statement, "As a church, we have the right to live and operate according to our faith and church teachings."

New Ways Ministry, a Catholic gay rights group, has found more than 15 cases since 2010 of U.S. teachers, school administrators or parish musicians who lost jobs or resigned after expressing support for gay marriage or going public with their own same-sex relationships. Several of the former employees have sued.

Dioceses in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Honolulu; Oakland, California, and elsewhere have added morals clauses to their teacher contracts barring public support for gay rights. Other dioceses have asked volunteer educators to sign pledges on upholding church teaching.

The Missouri lawsuit was filed Thursday by Colleen Simon, who said she worked as a parish bookkeeper in the diocese before she was hired in 2013 as a food pantry coordinator at St. Francis Xavier Church. In each step of the hiring process, she said she told administrators she had married a woman a year earlier in Iowa, where gay marriage is recognized, and diocesan and parish representatives said her marital status would not be a problem.

Simon's wife, the Rev. Donna Simon, is a pastor at a Kansas City congregation affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Colleen Simon said she underscored her wife's public role in case the Jesuit parish had expectations the couple would be "discrete" about their marriage.

When a new priest was assigned to the church, Simon said she told the new pastor she was in a same-sex marriage. Then, the Simons were mentioned in a news article about the redevelopment of their neighborhood, accompanied by a photo of Colleen Simon working at the food pantry.

Soon after, the priest told Simon he had to fire her over the article. The dismissal letter sent last month from the diocese human resources director said she was fired because of the "irreconcilable conflict between the laws, discipline and teaching of the Catholic Church, and your relationship - formalized by an act of marriage in Iowa - to a person of the same sex." Simon provided a copy of the letter to The Associated Press.

The legal petition, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, accuses the diocese and Bishop Robert Finn of civil fraud for leading Simon to believe her same-sex marriage would not affect her job.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has been facing a raft of litigation in recent years over clergy sex abuse that has cost the church millions of dollars in settlements and legal fees. Finn was convicted in 2012 of failure to report suspected abuse to civil authorities and was sentenced to probation.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow