Catholic Food Pantry Fires Lesbian Director

A Kansas City food pantry is without a director after an accidental outing.

BY Michael O'Loughlin

May 16 2014 5:27 PM ET

Colleen Simon

The director of a Catholic food pantry in Kansas City, Mo., was fired after the church learned she is married to another woman.

Colleen Simon, who was Catholic for decades but who is now Lutheran, was mentioned in a recent article in The Kansas City Star’s magazine about diversity in Kansas City. The writer of that article happened to include a sentence indicating that Simon is married to the lesbian pastor of another area church.

When Simon’s employer, St. Francis Xavier Parish, found out, she was let go.

Columnist Mary Sanchez wrote this week in the Star that the writer of the article did not intend to out Simon. In fact, Simon says she never kept her marriage secret.

“Colleen Simon kept a don’t-ask, don’t-flaunt attitude. She said she told the pastor who hired her in July 2013 (he is no longer at the parish) of her marriage. But day to day, she avoided pronouns that would highlight it, substituting ‘my spouse’ or ‘my beloved,’” Sanchez wrote.

Simon told the Star that she believes Bishop Robert Finn ordered her firing, though officials with the diocese declined to comment. Finn was indicted in 2011 for failing to report suspected child abuse to authorities. He was sentenced to two years’ probation and has defied calls for his resignation.

Simon’s firing follows the dismissal of several openly gay employees from Catholic schools around the U.S., as well as an openly gay church musician last year.

Follow Michael O’Loughlin on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.

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