Church Fires Gay Music Director, Results In Law Suit

A former music director at a suburban parish near Chicago was fired after announcing his engagement to a male partner in 2014. He filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the parish and the Archdiocese of Chicago on March 7.

Colin Collette worked at the Holy Family Catholic Church for 17 years, according to the Associated Press.  Collette refused to resign after being asked by the parish to do so, and was instead terminated.

The lawsuit states that the church's "discriminatory conduct was intentional, willful, and wanton," according to the Chicago Tribune.

The U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled that religious institutions have broader latitude in hiring and firing individuals for religious reasons than other employers do.

However, Collette's suit argues he was treated differently than other individuals within the archdiocese who have also entered into marriages which have not been sanctioned by the church.

The suit also suggests that Collette's job as music director was essentially non-religious in nature, as he never selected/approved music for masses or planned liturgies.

In a phone call with the Tribune, Collette said he hopes to one day return to work in the Catholic church.  He said he had hope in Pope Francis and signs of reform coming from the Vatican, and cited the film "Spotlight" from 2015.

He said:

When 'Spotlight' won the Academy Award (for best film), Rome was so quick to say, 'This is not an anti-Catholic film. It's calling us to an issue the Catholic church needs to deal with.' That's how I felt about this. I'm not trying to be anti-Catholic. … This is an issue the church needs to deal with. There are a lot of good people that are hurting.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese told the Tribune that the archdiocese does not comment on ongoing cases

Sources: Associated Press via ABC 7 Chicago, Chicago Tribune / Photo credit: ABC 7 Chicago

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