In the latest offense to the First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge ruled on Wednesday that a Catholic school committed sex and sexual orientation discrimination against a gay man when it rescinded a job offer made to him because he is married to another man.
Matthew Barrett was offered a job as Fontbonne Academy‘s food services director, but the offer was withdrawn after he listed his husband as his emergency contact. Barrett sued.
Judge Douglas H. Wilkins rejected each of the three defenses the Academy’s attorney argued before the court:
The school had argued it was entitled to a religious exemption under the state anti-discrimination law. It also claimed that hiring Barrett would infringe on its constitutional rights because it views his marriage as incompatible with its religious mission.
Fontbonne did not qualify for a religious exemption to the state anti-discrimination law because the school is open to students of all faiths and only members of its administration and theology faculty must be Roman Catholics, Wilkins ruled.
The school could only claim a religious exemption, he wrote, if it limited “membership, enrollment, or participation” to members of one religion.
Wilkins also ruled that hiring Barrett as a food services director would not interfere with the school’s ability to promote the message of the Catholic church because the job does not have any teaching or administrative responsibilities.
But John Bagley, attorney for Fontbonne, disagreed,
“There are many activities at the school that are outside of the classroom setting in which spouses are invited. He also said when interviewed for the position then Head Mistress Mary Ellen Barnes told Barrett even though he would not be teaching he would have to “model the faith” as an employee of Fontbonne.
The Judge’s basic premise in this case wrong. This is not a matter of gender discrimination or bias against sexual orientation. This is a case about religious freedom. The real issue is that progressives like Judge Wilkins believe that religion is something that is done only on the grounds of a house of worship. Don’t believe the nonsense about allowing students of other faiths voiding their religious rights. I would suspect that if it wasn’t already codified in the Massachusetts law this Judge would rule that a school that was 100% Catholic would have to hire Mr. Barrett also. Either that or the ruling would be the school was discriminating against non-Catholics.
Religion is more than prayer; it’s supposed to teach a way to live. Liberals never get that. If the government forces a Fontbonne Academy to recognize same-sex marriage by hiring a man involved in a gay marriage, then what is next? In 2011 ballot initiative to ban circumcision in San Francisco was taken off the ballot by a Judge. What happens if the next time a proposed ban circumcision goes through? Does that mean Jews (and Muslims) cannot live in San Francisco because some judge may toss us in the slammer for following our faith? Seems crazy? Maybe. But then again, if I was asked before yesterday if a judge would ever force a Catholic School to abandon its faith, I would have said that was crazy also.