A Massachusetts court has ruled against
a Catholic high school that rescinded a job offer to a married gay
Superior Court Associate Justice
Douglas H. Wilkins ruled Wednesday that Fontbonne Academy, a Catholic
girls high school, had discriminated against Matthew Barrett on the
basis of sexual orientation and sex when it rescinded a job offer
after learning that he is married to another man.
Barrett, a longtime food industry
professional, was offered the position of food services director at
Fontbonne Academy on July 9, 2013. He filed employment paperwork
that listed his husband, Ed Suplee, as his emergency contact. The
following day, he was told that the school would no longer employ him
because of his marriage.
Lawyers for Fontbonne argued that
Barrett was welcome at the school provided that he was not married to
“Fontbonne tries to justify its
decision on the ground that hiring Barrett, while he was in a
same-sex marriage, would be inconsistent with both the teachings of
the Catholic Church and its own policy that all employees are models
for the students,” Wilkins wrote in his decision.
“It is no answer to say that
Fontbonne denied Barrett employment because he was in a same-sex
marriage, not because of his sexual orientation. The law recognizes
no such distinction. 'A tax on wearing yarmulkes is a tax on Jews.'
… Likewise, discrimination on the basis on one's opposition to
same-sex marriage is discrimination on the basis of sexual
Barrett is represented by GLAD, which
called the ruling a “first-of-its-kind decision.”
do not get a free pass to discriminate against gay and lesbian
people,” GLAD Senior Attorney Bennett Klein said. “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
A hearing to determine damages is the
next step in the case.