Bates-Congdon is gay and had been out to the pastor and his congregation. He gave Rev. Frank O’Rourke a heads up that he and his long-time partner were going to New York to wed. He said the good pastor even congratulated him.
In a reaffirmation of the Catholic Church’s condemnation of gay marriage, the pope recently proclaimed that legalizing and recognizing committed gay relationships threatens “the future of humanity itself.” And U.S. Catholic bishops have been vociferous opponents of marriage equality, calling for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
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Moreover, North Carolina, where Bates-Congdon and his husband reside, does not recognize gay marriage and in May the state’s voters will decide whether to add a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously last January that, due to “ministerial exception,” churches can pretty much hire and fire whomever they please.
So should Bates-Congdon be surprised? — Erwin de Leon