The Catholic Church in Missouri has fired a woman in charge of feeding the homeless because she is in a same-sex marriage.

According to the Kansas City Star, Colleen Simon was in charge of the distribution of food to the hungry at St. Francis Xavier Church, and saw her job as one of devotion.

However, after a local newspaper reported that she was married to Donna Simon, a local Lutherian reverend, she was asked to step down by the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Simon, who is a cancer survivor, said she never lied about her private life to the church, and spoke in gender neutral terms, using phrases such as “my spouse” or “my beloved”.

She said: “You don’t want your legacy to be one of division and ugliness

“It’s awful. But there are laws, and until that law gets changed in the church, it is what it is.

“I knew this was a losing engagement… I was just hoping for a longer engagement.”

According to the newspaper, as well as managing the pantry and feeding the homeless, she had encouraged parishioners to take a more active role, not only preventing hunger but also trying to understand it.

She said: “We address social issues, too, which is what God calls us to do.

“Why do people need this, and the emergency assistance we offer to help pay a bill?”

The Diocese declined to comment.

Earlier this week, the Missouri-based St Louis Rams NFL team drafted openly gay player Michael Sam.

Despite the prominent signing, Missouri has no legal protection in the workplace for gay people, meaning there is little Simon could do about losing her job.