Gay Man Fired By Catholic Diocese Files Federal Lawsuit

Gay Man Fired By Catholic Diocese Files Federal Lawsuit

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A man who was allegedly fired from a retirement home owned by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has filed a federal lawsuit claiming discrimination.

John M. Murphy was fired in April 2015, just eight days into his job as executive director of the St. Francis Home, according to court papers filed this month.

He says two diocese officials visited his office, Chief Financial Officer Michael McGee and Human Resources Officer Dorothy Mahanes, who told him they had learned he was gay. When Murphy confirmed this he was fired, he says.

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According to the lawsuit, McGee then told him “same-sex marriage is antithetical to Roman Catholic church doctrine and this makes you unfit and ineligible to be executive director of St. Francis Home. We are here to advise you that your employment is terminated effective today,” Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

A spokeswoman for St. Francis Home said in October that “as a Catholic organization, we expect the employees of the diocese and its ministries to uphold and embody the consistent values and truths of the Catholic faith, including those preserving the sanctity of marriage.”

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Murphy is married to his partner of 30 years, Jerry Carter.

Murphy also says his sexual orientation was never brought up during the month long interview process, but that it did come up on March 18, 2015, during a conversation about an upcoming fundraiser with the president of the board of directors, Tina Neal.l

The lawsuit claims Neal told him that “staff and spouses were invited to attend and that (he) was welcome to bring his wife.”

Murphy says he told her he had a husband, not a wife.

“Since this was the first time this issue ever came up, (Murphy) asked Ms. Neal if his same-sex marriage status was an issue,” according to the lawsuit. “She shrugged and said it was not a problem and would not be an issue, stating: ‘This is 2015.’”

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