Gay Marriage, Religious Liberty, And The Case Of One 8 Year-Old Boyby Doug Mataconis
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BOSTON (AP) — A Roman Catholic school in Massachusetts has withdrawn its acceptance of an 8-year-old boy with lesbian parents, saying their relationship was “in discord” with church teachings, according to one of the boys’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 But she said she learned her son’s acceptance was rescinded during a conference call Monday with Principal Cynthia Duggan and the parish priest, the Rev.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.