KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has fired a woman in charge of distributing food to the homeless and hungry after learning she is gay and in a same-sex marriage.
Colleen Simon, whose work as a coordinator of social ministries was profiled April 30 in The Kansas City Star, was unintentionally outed when the article mentioned that Simon was married to the Rev. Donna Simon of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church.
Simon told the Star this week that she had not hidden her marriage during her time working at St. Francis Xavier Church, where she not only worked to feed hungry families, but also to focus the role of faith in social justice.
Hers was a pastoral role at St. Francis, which she understands makes a difference to the diocese. She says she took great pride in leading parishioners toward a more active role in the food pantry.
She said that she told the pastor who hired her last July about the marriage, and often referred to her wife in gender-neutral terms such as “my spouse” and “my beloved.”
But after the article was published, Simon says a series of emails and discussions began last week, and she was eventually asked to resign. She believes that the order originated from Bishop Robert Finn.
“You don’t want your legacy to be one of division and ugliness,” she said. “It’s awful. But there are laws, and until that law gets changed in the church, it is what it is.”
Simon says she’s “heartsick,” but that righteous indignation has no role here, not from her.
“I knew this was a losing engagement,” she said. “I was just hoping for a longer engagement.”