Saturday, December 19, 2015

Massachusetts Court: Catholic School Wrongly Fired Gay Employee

Anti-gay school
Increasingly, we are seeing religious affiliated schools and colleges seek special rights when it comes to discriminating against gays and otherwise breaking non-discrimination laws.  The godly folk believe that they should have the right to refuse to employ gays - even while disgustingly enjoying tax-exempt status and, thus, indirect financial benefits from those they discriminate against - on the justification of their hate and fear based religious beliefs (I believe that no religious institution should not be tax exempt unless engaged in solely charitable works which do not include disseminating religious beliefs and bigotry). These beliefs, of course, are typically selectively aimed at LGBT individuals.  A Massachusetts court has called this bigotry out for the bull shit that it is and has ruled against a Catholic School that fired a gay worker once it discovered he was married to a man.   Metro Weekly looks at this first of its kind ruling.  Here are highlights:
A Massachusetts superior court judge on Wednesday ruled in a first-of-its-kind decision that a Catholic all-girls school in Milton, Mass., illegally discriminated against a gay cafeteria worker when school officials fired him after learning he was married to another man.

Matthew Barrett, of Dorchester, had argued that Fontbonne Academy had engaged in sex discrimination when it rescinded its job offer after discovering details about his personal life. Barrett had previously been offered and accepted the position of food services director at the school, a position that did not put him in the classroom or leave him with the ability to influence school curriculum. But Fontbonne insisted it had a right to fire Barrett, citing the Catholic Church’s opposition to homosexuality and same-sex marriage, as well as an exemption within Massachusetts’ LGBT nondiscrimination law for religiously-affiliated institutions. 

But Norfolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins rejected that argument, ruling that the exemption within the nondiscrimination law does not apply, because Fontbonne accepts non-Catholic students and employees, regardless of their faith. According to Wilkins, the religious exemption only applies to organizations that limit membership or admission to members of a certain religion.

Additionally, Wilkins ruled that the First Amendment’s protections for religious expression did not apply to the case, as hiring a food service worker who happened to be married to a same-sex spouse would not interfere with Fontbonne’s ability to express its opposition to same-sex marriages.

“Religiously-affiliated organizations do not get a free pass to discriminate against gay and lesbian people,” Bennett Klein, a senior attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which is representing Barrett, said in a statement. “When Fontbonne fired Matt from a job that has nothing to do with religion, and simply because he is married, they came down on the wrong side of the law.”

If the school decides not to appeal, the two sides must determine whether there will be a trial to determine the amount in damages that Fontbonne would owe to Barrett, who has since taken a job with the Milton public school system. 

“I’m ecstatic,” Barrett said in a statement. “What happened to me was wrong, and I truly hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Kudos to Judge Wilkins!!   As regular readers know, I view religion as one of the pervasive forces of evil in the world today be it in the form of Islamic extremism or the hate and bigotry which is the bedrock of conservative Christianity.  The world would simply be a better place if religion suddenly disappeared from the face of the planet.

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