BOSTON — A Boston man who had a job offer from an all-girls Catholic high school rescinded after administrators learned that he was in a same-sex marriage has settled a lawsuit with the school.
The Boston Globe reports 45-year-old Matthew Barrett’s confidential settlement with Fontbonne Academy comes nearly five months after a Massachusetts judge found the Milton school had discriminated against Barrett.
Fontbonne Academy officials pulled their offer of a food service position to Barrett in 2013 after he listed his husband as an emergency contact.
Ben Klein, Barrett’s attorney, says the settlement means that the December Superior Court ruling against the school will stand, establishing a legal precedent that employers have no religious justification for discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
In December 2015, a superior court judge rejected Fontbonne’s claim that hiring Barrett would infringe on its constitutional rights because it views his marriage to a man as incompatible with its religious mission.
The judge said Barrett’s duties as a food services director did not include presenting the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“As an educational institution, Fontbonne retains control over its mission and message. It is not forced to allow Barrett to dilute that message, where he will not be a teacher, minister or spokesman for Fontbonne and has not engaged in public advocacy of same-sex marriage,” Norfolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins wrote.
The judge also found that a religious exemption to the state anti-discrimination law applies only if a religious organization limits admission to people of a certain religion. Fontbonne is open to students and employees of all faiths, with the exception of its administration and theology faculty.
At the time, Barrett’s attorney, Ben Klein of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said Fontbonne was liable to pay damages for lost wages and compensatory damages for discrimination.
“Marriage equality has been the law of Massachusetts for over a decade, and it is now the law of the land. But you can’t have equality if you can get married on Saturday and fired on Monday,” Klein said.
Fontbonne released a statement Wednesday saying it “expresses deep gratitude to Mr. Barrett for his willingness to come together with us in a spirit of conciliation.”
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