A federal court this week rejected a
gay music director's claim that he was unlawfully fired from an
Illinois Catholic church because of his sexuality.
Colin Collette sued his employer, Holy
Family Church in the Chicago suburb of Inverness, after he was
dismissed following news of his 2014 engagement. Collette had served
as the church's director of music and director of worship for 17
U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras on
Tuesday sided with Collette's employer, finding in a seven-page
ruling that Collette's position was ministerial in nature and
therefore exempted from civil rights laws.
“By playing music at church services,
Collette served an integral role in the celebration of mass,”
wrote. “Collette’s musical performances furthered the mission
of the church and helped convey its message to the congregants.
Therefore, Collette’s duties as Musical Director fall within the
Collette, who waited two years before
filing his suit, told NBC Chicago in 2014 that he did not hide his
relationship from co-workers because Holy Family Church positioned
itself as “welcoming to all.”
“Everybody was welcome. That was our
hallmark. All are welcome. Well, that's all changed now. That's
become a lie,” Collette said at the time.
The Archdiocese of Chicago said in
firing Collette that worship ministers “are expected to confirm
their lives publicly with the teachings of the Church.”