Gay Marriage, Religious Liberty, And The Case Of One 8 Year-Old Boy

The latest battleground in the ongoing debate over gay marriage and religious liberty is taking place in Massachusetts:

BOSTON (AP) — A Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts has withdrawn its acceptance of an 8-year-old boy with lesbian parents, saying their relationship was “in discord” with church teachings, according to one of the boys’ mothers.

It’s at least the second time in recent months that students have not been allowed to attend a U.S. Catholic school because of their parents’ sexual orientation, with the other instance occurring in Colorado.

The Massachusetts woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns about the effect of publicity on her son, said she planned to send the boy to third grade at St. Paul Elementary School in Hingham in the fall. But she said she learned her son’s acceptance was rescinded during a conference call Monday with Principal Cynthia Duggan and the parish priest, the Rev. James Rafferty.

“I’m accustomed to discrimination, I suppose, at my age and my experience as a gay woman,” the mother said. “But I didn’t expect it against my child.”

Rafferty said her relationship “was in discord with the teachings of the Catholic Church,” which holds marriage is only between a man and woman, the woman said.

She said Duggan told her teachers wouldn’t be prepared to answer questions her son might have because the school’s teachings about marriage conflict with what he sees in his family.

Rafferty and Duggan did not respond to requests for comment.

It’s unfortunately that the Church is choosing to deprive this young boy of the benefits of a Catholic education because of the lifestyle of his parents, but this strikes me as one area where the rights of the Church should trump the rights of the parents, or the child.

In an ideal libertarian world, of course, there would be no laws barring discrimination in private institutions at all. If a business owner wished to refuse service to anyone for any reason. We don’t live in that world, of course, thanks largely to the a history where the power of the state was used to enforce strict racial segregation that was designed to prevent any entire group of people from succeeding economically. That’s no reason, however, to involve the government even more in private decisions like this.

If the Church feels that it would be in appropriate to admit a student with Lesbian parents, it should be free to make that decision.

  • John222

    The school has every right to deny admission to anyone for any reason. Most Catholic schools have rigid morality rules that apply to students as well as faculty. Living together without being married is against the moral teachings of the church, so they could have been denied had they been a man and a woman.

    I admit being somewhat curious as to what their first names were that weren’t caught prior to the interview (maybe Terry and Pat). Also, why would an openly homosexual couple want their child to be educated by the Catholic Church? The child is sure to be taught that his/her parents are living in sin and will go to hell unless they confess and repent.

  • Michael O. Powell

    I think this isn’t black or white. If a private day care center were trying to bar a child because he has gay parents, I think a lawsuit and state action would make more sense.

    Anyway, as John said, the Catholic Church is not the place to go if you’re openly gay. There’s alot of really tolerant and open Protestant churches out there (that’s what they’re for: as an alternative to the dogma of the Catholic Church).

  • John222

    Michael, you really think a lawsuit and state action makes more sense? Because one person refuses to enter into a mutually beneficial exchange with another?

    Catholic or not, the state has no business telling anyone who they should or shouldn’t be doing business with.

  • Aaron Stewart

    Marriage is one of the most sacred ceremonies that we humans experience. Being married also gives us happines.`’~