Matthew Barrett Fired Before He Was Hired For Catholic School Job For Being Gay

| by Allison Geller

A gay man was fired from a job at a Catholic school before he was even hired when a question on his paperwork revealed he was married to a man.

Matthew Barrett, 43, had all the experience for the job of food services director at Fontbonne Academy, a Roman Catholic girls’ prep school in Milton, Massachusetts. But just two days after accepting the position, the head of the school rescinded the offer.

Barrett had named his husband as his emergency contact in his employment papers.

“[The head of school] said the Catholic religion doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, and that was her excuse. She said, ‘We cannot hire you,’ ” Barrett said in an interview in the Boston offices of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which is representing him in a discrimination suit. 

“It just ate me up,” he said.

The school describes itself as adhering to the “Catholic, Western intellectual and spiritual tradition.” But GLAD attorneys said that the firing was blatantly discriminatory.

“There is a balance between important values, which are religious liberties, and discriminatory practices,” said Bennett Klein, a senior GLAD attorney. “This is a job that has nothing to do with religion . . . and this weighs toward discrimination.”

Barrett, who has experience in multiple restaurants and cafeterias, had to pass three interviews to get the job at Fontbonne.

“I had all the qualifications,” Barrett said. “That was the job for me.”

Alumnae of the school have banded together on Facebook to petition for Barrett’s hiring. The group has gathered over a thousand members.

One alumnus, Christa D. Labouliere, wrote a letter stating, “hundreds of alumnae were appalled to learn of the alleged discriminative behavior of the current administration toward Mr. Matthew Barrett."

"Regardless of Catholic doctrine, everyone deserves the same basic human rights, and rescinding a job offer to a gay man who would not be in any sort of proselytizing role is not 'religious freedom;' it is outright bigotry.”

Fontbonne did not respond to CBS Boston’s request to comment on the issue.

“Fontbonne Academy does not comment on personnel matters or matters of pending or threatened litigation,” the statement said.

Sources: Boston Globe (2), CBS Boston