Gay Boston Man Says Catholic School Rescinded Job

A Roman Catholic school rescinded a job offer after finding out its prospective hire was married to another man, the applicant alleged in a complaint filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination on Thursday.

Matthew Barrett, 43, of Boston, said he landed his dream job when Fontbonne Academy in Milton hired him as food services director last July. He went through three interviews and gave notice at his other job the same day as the offer.

But the offer was rescinded two days later when the head of school realized Barrett had listed his spouse as his emergency contact.

"She said the Catholic religion doesn't recognize same-sex marriage, and that was her excuse. She said, `We cannot hire you,"' Barrett told The Boston Globe.

The school violated state antidiscrimination laws, according to Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which is representing Barrett in the complaint.

"Religiously affiliated entities do not have a free pass to do as they please in how they treat employees, particularly when it comes to our important laws against discrimination," said Bennett Klein, an organization attorney. "Our laws carefully balance the important values of religious liberty and nondiscrimination."

His job had nothing to do with the school's religious mission, said Barrett, who was raised Catholic.

"If I'm planning and making meals for students, I'm not sure what my being gay has to do with the job," he said.

Fontbonne Academy, an all-girls high school, released a statement saying it does not comment on personnel matters or on pending or threatened litigation. The 60-year-old school is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston.

Under state law, the commission could decide whether to conduct an inquiry into Barrett's complaint. If the commission found probable cause that discrimination occurred, Barrett has the option of filing a lawsuit.


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