A woman in Missouri said this week that she was devastated after a Catholic church fired her from her job feeding hungry families because she was married to another woman.
After a Kansas City Star article highlighting the diversity of the Troost Avenue area mentioned that Colleen Simon was married to Rev. Donna Simon last month, St. Francis Xavier Church took notice.
Colleen Simon told the Star this week that she had not hidden her marriage during her time working as coordinator of social ministries at the church, where she not only worked to feed hungry families, but also to focus the role of faith in social justice.
She said that she told the pastor who hired her about the marriage, and often referred to "my spouse" and "my beloved."
But last week, the church began pressuring her to resign in a series of emails.
Simon, however, refused to tender her resignation, and forced the church to fire her. And she suspected that the order came directly from Bishop Robert Finn in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
“You don’t want your legacy to be one of division and ugliness,” she explained. “It’s awful. But there are laws, and until that law gets changed in the church, it is what it is.”
The news comes within days of one of the biggest rivals of Kansas City's professional football team signing Michael Sam, the league's first openly-gay player.
Simon, who is a cancer survivor, was concerned about finding a new job quickly. But it was clear that her -- and her wife's -- advocacy for social justice was not just about a getting a paycheck.
“We address social issues, too, which is what God calls us to do," she told the Star last month. "Why do people need this, and the emergency assistance we offer to help pay a bill?”
At an event in Kansas City last month, Rev. Donna Simon also spoke out against lawmakers who were "willing to sell their constituents for spa vacations and donations" in exchange for doing the bidding of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Watch the video of Rev. Donna Simon below.
[Photo: Facebook/Colleen Simon]