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Gay Music Director Files Discrimination Complaint Against Illinois Catholic Church - VIDEO

Colin Collette

Colin Collette, a music director who served at the Holy Family Catholic Community church in Inverness, Illinois for 17 years, has filed a federal discrimination complaint after he was fired by pastor Terry Keehan in July for posting photos on Facebook of his proposal to his partner Will Nifong, reports the Chicago Tribune.

At the time, Keehan told Collette that his relationship violated the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73df9750e970d-800wiIn August, hundreds of people attended a meeting at which most people voiced support for Collette and a church cantor announced his resignation because of his dismissal.

Collette filed the complaint against Keehan and the parish's manager on Thursday alleging discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and marital status.

At a press conference, Collette said:

"It is with deep regret that I have had to pursue this course of action. I have chosen to enter into a marriage, as is my right under Illinois law, and perhaps I can open the door to other men and women who the church has chosen to exclude from the community."

In a written statement, Susan Burritt, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said:

"The Archdiocese of Chicago has not seen the complaints that Mr. Collette has filed with the civil authorities and so we are unable to comment on them. We will respond to the complaints in the forums in which they are filed at the appropriate time."

A successful claim of discrimination will likely turn on the "ministerial exception" to anti-discrimination law. In 2012, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that religious institutions have broad latitude in hiring and firing people whose jobs include religious roles.

Collette's lawyer, Kerry Lavelle said her client has reached out to Chicago's new archbishop Blase Cupich but has received no response:

"The archbishop will not take his calls. [Collette] wants his job back. That's what this is about."

Same-sex marriage became legal in Illinois on June 1.

Check out a Chicago NBC 5 report on Collette's September meeting with Cardinal Francis George, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Gay Music Director Files Discrimination Complaint Against Illinois Catholic Church - VIDEO" »


Ohio Gay Teen Crowned Homecoming Queen

Cooper robar

A high school in Lakewood, Ohio, has crowned a gay male student as homecoming queen, reports Cleveland.com.

Last September, a transgender student in Huntington Beach, California, was crowned homecoming queen. In August 2013, two out gay students in Illinois were named homecoming king and queen.

Instead of naming a traditional king and queen, Lakewood High School decided to crown three people after Cooper Robar won the race for homecoming queen. Also named as members of “royalty” were Tess Jones, who received the most votes among girls, and Xavier Pedro, who was elected king.

Cooper’s mother Wendy explained that what started out as a joke turned into a statement on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community:

"It was him being a goofball and saying wouldn't it be fun if he could be queen. I was pretty shocked [that we won]. I was surprised by the roaring of applause and the yelling for Cooper….We are very proud of him being able to stand up for himself and tell the world he is who he is and have no misgivings about it.”

She added that although Cooper is popular at school, she was surprised he didn't encounter any serious backlash from critics.

Lakewood Principal Keith Ahearn said there was nothing in the rules preventing a boy from running as queen and deciding to name three members of royalty was the fairest way to handle the situation.


Marriage Equality Advocates to Rally in Chicago Today on Eve of Seventh Circuit Arguments

ChicagoplazaMidwestern same-sex couples, LGBT supporters, and faith leaders will rally in the Chicago Federal Plaza this afternoon on the eve of marriage cases before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals tomorrow. Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris, author of the new Illinois marriage equality law, will kick off the rally and welcome the plaintiffs in the cases which center on marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin. The three-judge panel will be announced in the morning. 

For more information on the rally, head HERE.

Last month, the Seventh Circuit ruled that the state of Indiana must recognize the marriage of a terminally ill lesbian. 

[photo via Flickr]


Catholic Parishioners Rally Behind Man Fired As Church Music Director Over Same-Sex Engagement

ColletteAt a meeting at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness, Illinois on Wednesday, a large number of parishioners showed up to voice their thoughts on the recent firing of Colin Collette - the man who had served as the church's music director for the past 17 years until he was unceremoniously let go after pastor Terry Keehan saw that Collette had proposed to his long-time partner William Nifong.  

The Chicago Tribune reports that many of the roughly 700 people who attended appeared to support Collette, who received a standing ovation when he entered the sanctuary.

Kevin Keane of Bartlett, one of dozens of people addressing a panel that included representatives of the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, quit his position as cantor in protest of Collette's firing.

“He has given his entire life to the church,” Keane said, repeating a portion of his speech. “That leads me to the conclusion if he's not fit to serve, then I am not fit to serve.” [...]

Collette said this week that he has continued to attend Mass at the church and had hoped that he could be reinstated in his job as a private contractor. In a meeting with Keehan on Tuesday, Collette said, he was told there was no way he could return to his former job.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has since taken up all questions surrounding Collette's firing. Earlier this month the archdiocese released a statement saying: "Those that serve as Ministers of the Church, including worship ministers, are expected to conform their lives publicly with the teachings of the Church."


Catholic Church Fires Music Director Over Same-Sex Engagement

GayzColin Collette (pictured left) — the music director who served at the Holy Family Catholic Community church in Inverness, Illinois for the last 17 years — got fired by pastor Terry Keehan after Collette posted photos of his proposal to his long-time same-sex partner.

Though Keehan initially asked Collette to resign, Collette refused and so Keehan fired him. The Daily Herald reports:

”Holy Family was supposed to be a place where all are welcome," [Collette] said, noting the church's motto is "Inviting all to new life in Christ.”…

On Tuesday Collette sent an email about his firing to all the members of the church's choir, which he estimates to include 100 to 120.

"I needed them to know that I'm not doing this to contradict church teachings or make a political statement," he said. "I believe God has given me this in my life and saying no to this relationship would be saying no to God."

The response from his choir was overwhelmingly positive, Collette said. Their kindness and acceptance often moved him to tears.

In a statement released this week, the Chicago Archdiocese said they knew of Collette’s firing, but declined to comment on this specific case, instead adding, "Those that serve as Ministers of the Church, including worship ministers, are expected to conform their lives publicly with the teachings of the Church.”


Michigan Democrat Adam Zemke Introduces Bill To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy in the State

Adam zemke

New legislation has been introduced by Michigan Democrat Rep. Adam Zemke which aims to ban gay conversion therapy for minors in the state, reports mlive.com.

Zemke hopes Michigan can join California and New Jersey in banning “ex-gay” therapy for under-18s.  Efforts to introduce bans on conversion therapy in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York state have been blocked or stalled.

Zemke said:

"The evidence shows you cannot change sexual orientation, so the legislation was kind of a no-brainer. We want to make sure children cannot be exposed to situations that are emotionally harmful to them because of their parents' beliefs or desires to try to change their orientation."

In 2009, the American Psychological Association said that attempts to change sexual orientation are ineffective and can have harmful side effects including depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.

Zemke has had positive support from some Republicans. However, Republican Rep. Gail Haines, chair of the House Health Policy Committee, said that new laws intervening in the relationship between parents and their children "seems unnecessary."

The “ex-gay” movement has had a number of recent setbacks. Last week, Duane Youngblood was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenager. Yesterday, we reported that Yvette Cantu Schneider, one of the most vocal and best known representatives of the ex-gay movement, announced that she no longer wishes to identify with anti-gay groups.


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