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US: Missouri parish worker sues after being fired over her same-sex marriage

Katie Dupere July 17, 2014

A food pantry worker is suing the Diocese of Kansas City, St. Joseph after she was fired from her position with the parish in May over her same-sex marriage.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, Colleen Simon said she worked as a bookkeeper in the diocese before she was hired as a food pantry coordinator for a parish in 2013. During the hiring process, Simon said she told administrators she married a woman a year earlier in Iowa.

That woman is Reverend Donna Simon, a pastor at a Kansas City Lutheran Church – a high profile position. Simon said she told parish officials that her marriage would not be discrete, and they said that her marriage was not a problem.

When a new priest was assigned to the church, Simon said she told him she was in a same-sex relationship and continued work.

But when a newspaper article was printed in late April with a picture of Simon that mentioned her same-sex marriage, the priest told Simon he had to fire her.

The dismissal letter, sent in June, stated she was fired because of “irreconcilable conflict between the laws, discipline and teaching of the Catholic church, and your relationship – formalized by an act of marriage in Iowa – to a person of the same sex,” according to The Associated Press.

Diocesan officials haven’t yet seen the lawsuit, according to The Associated Press. In a statement, however, officials said: “As a church, we have the right to live and operate according to our faith and church teachings.”

More: Americas, Catholic, Church, Colleen Simon, diocese, Diocese of Kansas City, Discrimination, fired, Kansas City, Missouri, same sex marriage, US

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