Are gay rights activists using lawsuits to impose their religious views on the Catholic Church?
A gay couple from Massachusetts sued a Roman Catholic diocese Monday for allegedly refusing to sell them a mansion because church officials were concerned they would host gay weddings there.
James Fairbanks, 59, and Alain Beret, 57, filed suit in Worcester Superior Court for loss of civil rights and dignity and for emotional distress.What about the Church’s right to freedom of religion? And the right to uphold the dignity of pro-gender marriage? And talk about “distress.” Isn’t being sued a bit stressful?
The married couple from Sutton planned to buy Oakhurst, a former Catholic retreat center in Northbridge, and restore it as a place they could live and host a special events business.
But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester ended negotiations in June, and the couple alleged they learned why in an email they inadvertently received in which diocesan Chancellor Thomas Sullivan cited concern “about the potentiality of gay marriages there.”
The couple’s attorney, Sergio Carvajal, said it’s obvious his clients were discriminated against because they’re gay.
“It is wrong and it is illegal,” he said.
But James G. Reardon Jr., an attorney for the diocese, said the diocese stopped negotiations over concerns about whether the buyers could finance the purchase. The email refers only to the possibility of gay weddings being held at the site, not the couple’s sexual orientation, which Reardon said never came up during negotiations.
“It wasn’t a case of discriminating against gay people. We didn’t even know they were gay,” Reardon said.
Do activists have the right to impose their religious views about human sexuality on the Church?