Nicholas Coppola, right, with husband David Crespo
WATCH: Married Gay Man Stripped of Volunteer Duties at Catholic Church

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com April 05 2013 12:33 PM ET

A gay Long Island man has been stripped of his volunteer duties at his Roman Catholic church after he married his longtime partner.

Lifelong Catholic Nicholas Coppola, 47, had been an active parishioner and taught a children’s religion class at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church in Oceanside, N.Y. He continued to do so after legally marrying his partner of 10 years, David Crespo, last October, a wedding that was attended by several church members and even some clergy.

But an anonymous letter-writer notified Bishop Bob Brennan, the head of the Catholic diocese of Rockville Centre, that a married gay man was teaching religion at St. Anthony’s, and Brennan spoke to St. Anthony’s pastor Nicholas Lombardi about it. Lombardi then told Coppola he could no longer teach the class, NBC’s New York City affiliate reports.

“It has been difficult, very difficult for me,” Coppola told the station. “Because I'm trying to fill that void of good deeds. … I was accepted into the church being openly gay. But once I got married, which went against Catholic teaching, they had to remove me from my teaching position.”

He said he bore no resentment toward Lombardi. “I don’t want anyone to think this is Nick Lombardi’s fault,” Coppola said. “He did this with a very heavy heart. You could see it in his face. I felt sad for him that he had to make this decision. In fact, he’s still struggling with this now and it’s sad.”

Watch the interview below.


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