Gay teacher fired from his job at Catholic school for ‘breaching contract’ after marrying another man

Gay teacher fired from his job at Catholic school for ‘breaching contract’ after marrying another man

A Catholic school teacher said he was fired from his job after the Brooklyn Diocese determined he had violated “Catholic doctrine and morality” by marrying a man.

Posting on YouTube, Matthew LaBanca explained that he was simultaneously fired from his roles a music teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Astoria and music director at Corpus Christi church on 13 October after someone told the Diocese that he had married his husband Rowan in August.

He said:

“A Diocesan committee of high-ranking officials met for almost six weeks - something unheard of - to discuss the fate of my employment and to answer the question: ‘Should Matthew be allowed to remain at his jobs?’ The answer turned out to be no.”

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LaBanca noted that while such actions are illegal in the state of New York, the first amendment means religious institutions are “allowed to legally discriminate.”

“But just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right,” he said.

LaBanc said the school’s principal was his “fiercest advocate,” but that the decision was out of his hands. He alleged that “ultimately” the decision to fire him was made by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the leader of the Diocese of Brooklyn and the seventh Bishop of Brooklyn.

He said he was offered a “severance package” that amounted to three months salary and included a “gag order” that was almost 10 pages long to stop him from talking about the incident.

But LaBanca said he did not sign the order because “no price could be placed on my personal integrity.”

“I’m stripped of both of my jobs, all of my employment, my health insurance and, most importantly, the community life that has meant so much to me, not because of my work performance — not in the slightest — but because I’m gay,” he said.

Since posting it, the video has racked up over 17,000 views and he has also shared a petition demanding he be reappointed to his positions. A GoFundMe for his living expenses has gained $2,277 at the time of writing.

In a statement to the New York Daily News, officials from St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy and Corpus Christi church confirmed LaBanca was fired for violating a clause in his contract that dictates teachers must “support and exemplify by his/her public conduct Catholic doctrine and morality.”

“Despite changes to New York State law in 2011 legalizing same-sex marriage, Church law is clear,” they said.

“In his case, it has been determined that he can no longer fulfill his obligations as a minister of the faith at either the school or the parish.”

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