NEW YORK (AP) —
The Brooklyn Diocese fired a Catholic music school teacher in Queens after he married a man, saying he violated a contractual stipulation to the Catholic Church.
Matthew LaBanca, a teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Astoria and a music director at Corpus Christi Church, was fired Oct. 13 after diocese officials learned he had married a man in August, the Daily News of New York reported Monday.
LaBanca said that a community member reported his wedding date to the diocese, and that high-ranking officials met for two months to discuss whether he should be fired.
LaBanca said that Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the soon-to-retire leader of the Brooklyn Diocese, was responsible for his termination.
In a statement, school and church officials said that LaBanca was fired because he violated a part of his contract that said teachers must “support and exemplify by his/her public conduct Catholic doctrine and morality.”
LaBanca said he was offered a severance package but turned it down because it would have required him to sign documents that prohibited him from speaking about the termination.
City and state anti-discrimination laws forbid terminations based on sexual orientation, but religious institutions are protected to make decisions based on religious beliefs.