A ‘gifted’ gay musician who worked in the Catholic church for over 30 years has been fired, because he married his same-sex partner.

According to the Washington Post,  Mike McMahon, president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, had worked at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arlington Virginia for three decades, and had served as music director across several parishes.

However, after Reverend Lee Roos of St. Agnes Catholic Church found out that the 62-year-old had married his partner last February, he was immediately fired from his position as music director.

McMahon said: “He called HR and asked them to walk him through what he had to do. Then we walked over to the church where my stuff was. We walked to the parking lot, he gave me a hug and that was it.”

Roos  had previously praised McMahon as a “gifted musician”.

Michael Donohue, spokesperson for the Diocese of Arlington, said: “The church can’t let a diocesan employee, especially one who has a significant and public role in the liturgy of the Mass, and other ceremonies, to stand in open defiance of church teachings.”

“This public act is unmistakable and verifiable and serves to cause scandal in the church and confusion among the laity.”

Donohue also admitted that “a few left the staff” after McMahon was fired from his post.

McMahon, who also stepped down as president of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, is now interim music director at the pro-gay National City Christian Church in Washington.