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WATCH: Minn. Catholic Church Ousts Gay Music Director for Marriage

WATCH: Minn. Catholic Church Ousts Gay Music Director for Marriage


Coming at the request of a controversial archbishop, it's the latest in a series of such occurrences.

Yet another gay employee of a Roman Catholic institution has lost his job because of his marriage.

In the latest example, Minneapolis-St. Paul archbishop John Nienstedt has demanded the resignation of Jamie Manzi-Moore, music director at St. Victoria Catholic Church in Victoria, Minn., reports Twin Cities TV station WCCO. Manzi-Moore, who married his partner, Garrett, last weekend, said he would comply with the request and expected to turn in his resignation today.

The church's pastor, Father Bob White, notified the congregation by email this week, saying, "Since Jamie's marriage conflicts with official Church teaching, Archbishop Nienstedt asked for Jamie's resignation." White referred to Manzi-Moore as "our beloved Director of Music" and added, "Jamie will be sorely missed, and we wish him every happiness." The pastor said he will discuss the matter during services this weekend.

Manzi-Moore said White had fought to keep him on staff but had to accede to the archbishop's demand. "I was heartbroken. I was absolutely heartbroken," Manzi-Moore told WCCO. He also said he "had held out hope that this just wouldn't have to become an issue."

Manzi-Moore, who has been music director at the church since 1997, said he came out to White several years ago, and in 2011 the pastor found out that he and Garrett were living together. There had been no consequences until now.

Nienstedt issued a statement on the matter, saying in part, "The teachings of the Church must be upheld, including the pastoral response of working with an employee whose actions are contrary to the Catholic faith."

Manzi-Moore said he understood the archbishop's position, but the situation has nonetheless been difficult for him. "It might take me a while to quote unquote, 'come back'" to the church, he told WCCO. "But I was born and raised Catholic and I love the Catholic faith." He does not have another job lined up.

There have been numerous instances of teachers, administrators, and musicians being fired from Catholic schools and churches for entering into same-sex marriages -- in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Virginia, and Washington State, to name just a few. The recent movie Love Is Strange dramatizes such a situation.

In Minnesota, Nienstedt has been a controversial archbishop. He has been accused of making unwelcome sexual advances to other men and of mishandling sexual abuse allegations against priests in the archdiocese. He has denied the first claim, and on the second, has said he never knowingly covered up sexual abuse by priests under his supervision, although he may have been too trusting of his colleagues. Last weekend, however, he reached out to survivors of clergy abuse by meeting with a survivors' support group, making him the first archbishop in Minnesota and perhaps in the nation to do so. In 2012, he was a leader of the drive to amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, an effort that failed. Minnesota's legislature then enacted a marriage equality law in 2013.

Below, watch WCCO's initial report on the music director's ouster and its follow-up interview with him.

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