Catholic Priest Denies Minnesota Teen Confirmation for Supporting Marriage Equality
A Catholic teenager in Barnesville, Minn., has been denied the sacrament of confirmation after he posted a photo to Facebook opposing the state's failed effort to amend the constitution to ban same-sex marriage, reports the Star Tribune.
The Reverend Gary LaMoine at Assumption Church denied confirmation to 17-year-old Lennon Cihak after the teenager posted a photo to his personal Facebook page showing Cihak in front of a pro-marriage amendment yard sign he had altered to read "Vote NO!" The marriage amendment was rejected by Minnesota voters in this month's election.
Cihak said that friends within his confirmation class "liked" the photo on Facebook, but they were still allowed to be confirmed.
"You should be able to go to a church for support, help," Cihak told InForum. "He pushed me away."
LaMoine discovered the photo and shortly thereafter called in Cihak's mother for a private conversation, during which she says the priest informed her that Lennon would not be allowed to complete confirmation.
Cihak's mother, Shana, said her son has been going to church weekly and volunteered around the community in preparation for his confirmation this year.
"You kind of know the Catholic beliefs," Shana Cihak told InForum. "But I never thought they would deny somebody confirmation because you weren't 100%. I guess that's what shocks me."
Cihak's family, longtime members of Assumption Church, said they are now being denied communion as well. While Lennon and Shana say they will never again set foot in the church, Lennon's father, Doug Cihak, said he considers the priest a "messenger" of the church and does not hold the decision against him.