A petition supporting a church employee fired for being married to a woman made it to the Diocese of Kansas City, but not without some struggle.
A petition drive in support of Colleen Simon acquired more than 30,000 signatures, said petition organizer Georgia Walker. Those who signed had asked the diocese to reinstate Simon, who was fired after "an irreconcilable conflict between the laws, discipline, and teaching of the Catholic Church...," according to a letter Simon received from the diocese after her dismissal.
Walker and other supporters attempted to hand-deliver the signatures to the diocese, but were halted once they arrived inside the church's downtown headquarters.
Somebody eventually took the signatured and promised to deliver it to Bishop Robert Finn.
"These are concerned Catholic parishoners who are all here to say we've had enough," said Walker. "We want a change. We want a change toward compassion. We want a change toward acceptance and inclusivity."
Simon married a woman in Iowa, and was fired in May after 10 months of work with St. Francis Xavier as its Parish Social Concerns Minister.
The diocese's director of communications, Jack Smith, forwarded a statement to 41 Action News.
The Diocese has not seen the filing, so we cannot comment specifically at this time. In general, as a Church we have the right to live and operate according to our faith and Church teachings. We regret this situation has resulted in litigation, however it is our sincere hope that the matter can be resolved amicably. As needed, we will defend our constitutional freedom to practice our faith and uphold the integrity of our mission and public witness.
Smith also noted to 41 Action News that the petition organizers, a group called Faithful America, is "a progressive online petition mill with no guarantee that its signatories are local or Catholic."