The RTD published an OpEd about the firing of gay man from a Catholic-run care facility and left out some important facts
The write up appears more supportive than not, but it does touch on concerns around limiting certain guaranteed rights, specifically those dealing with assembly. Hinkle likens the Catholic Diociese actions to that of the NAACP who limits membership and executive positions to people of color:
The diocese also is exercising another right the LGBT community should be careful about restricting: the right to freedom of association — to choose with whom you will socialize, consort, keep company . . . and marry. That right has been recognized for decades in cases such as NAACP v. Alabama, in which the Supreme Court upheld the right of NAACP members to “freely associate with others.”
Laws forbidding gay marriage trampled the fundamental right to “intimate association,” as the Supreme Court repeatedly noted in its landmark gay-marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges. The raids on gay bars such as the famous Stonewall Inn, which galvanized the gay-rights movement, violated the right to less intimate forms of association.
This association claim is interesting, and brings up a misconception about Murphy’s firing that a lot of people are probably still walking around with.
If Murphy had applied to a job in the Catholic Church – a Pastor or a choir leader, or whatever faith-related position was available – and had gotten it and was then fired for being in a long term relationship with a man, that would be the association Hinkle is referencing.
Murphy would be, in this hypothetical situation, participating in faith-related work which might leave a bit more room for association claims, or any other kind of bigotry the church wanted to be a part of.
If you think my use of “bigotry” is biased there, I’m (not) sorry. If you fire someone for being in a 30 year relationship in a nation where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce then you’re a bigot.
Either way, the narrative suggested in the TD OpEd missed some important facts.
Murphy wasn’t hired to be a part of daily faith practices. He wasn’t overseeing masses, or even nailing crosses to walls. He was tasked with overseeing a low-income care facility, helping with fundraising and administrative and organizational tasks – something he’d done for decades for other nonprofits.
Would it be alright for a religious institution to fire a custodian because he was in a same-sex marriage? Should they be allowed to fire an accountant because she’s chosen to go on birth control?
“If gay-rights advocates, who for so long have championed freedom of association, suddenly have doubts now that the shoe is on the other foot, perhaps their doubts should be leavened with ambivalence,” writes Hinkle. I’m not entirely sure what “association” he’s referencing here except maybe LGBTQ folks are trying to associate with THE REST OF AMERICAN SOCIETY by being allowed to marry who they love.
The Catholic Dioceses of Richmond made a statement – both literally and metaphorically – when they fired Murphy.
There’s no mistaking their action for anything except a willingness to fight a rapidly changing world, using ideals that have long been repurposed to hold down individuals and progress.
But, yea know, I don’t blame them. Things are getting scary for those stuck in the last century now that they are on the other side of the picket lines.
Bishop Francis X. Di Lorenzo, the man who supposedly had to send reps from his church to fire Murphy because board members refused to do so, will have his name etched in history along side other bigots who lost their wars.
He’ll share a mantel with people like Virginia trial court Judge Leon Bazile who, in 1965, defended segregation in marriage by saying “almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay, and red, and placed them on separate continents, and but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages.”
Amen to that… being forever part of the history of this country so we can never repeat those mistakes.
Being on the wrong side of history is nothing knew for the Catholic Church, Diversity Richmond ED Bill Harrison pointed that out beautifully and bluntly, but don’t expect the LGBTQ and ally community to waver in their support over this issue, no matter how the larger media outlets will muddy it up with vague half-facts.
“The CFO, and the human resources rep from the diocese came to my office and stated to me… ‘same-sex marriage is antithetical to Roman Catholic Church doctrine.”August 24, 2016
- Local man who was fired for being gay profiled in LGBTQ Philly publication, November 9, 2015
- John Murphy was fired from a local non-profit because he married his partner of 30 years, October 14, 2015
- Gay man fired by Bishop of Richmond Catholic Diocese files federal discrimination claim, October 13, 2015
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