Former employee sues Catholic diocese, claims she was fired because she is gay

KANSAS CITY, Mo - A former employee at St. Francis Xavier Church who is gay wants her job back. Now she's ready to take her grievance to a Jackson County courtroom.

Colleen Simon ran the food pantry at St. Francis Xavier Church. The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph fired Simon in May, shortly after a published article mentioned she had a wife.

Simon said the diocese knew she was gay when they hired her in 2013.

Simon stood before supporters and the media Thursday morning to announce that she was suing the diocese and Bishop Robert Finn.

 

"I file this lawsuit today with reluctance and after exhausting all attempts at reason," Simon said, "It is still my greatest desire to return to my position and to serve the parishioners and those at the margins in the surrounding community."

The lawsuit charges the diocese with "fraudulent inducement," for encouraging Simon to take the position, fully aware of her same-sex marriage only to later fire her for it. 

On April 30th, 816 Magazine published an article that referred to Simon and her wife.

Simon said she was fired two weeks later, even though the church knew of her same-sex marriage. Simon married her wife, Reverend Donna Simon of St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, in 2012.

"During my interview with the pastor, I shared that I am married and that many people in Kansas City know about us. After I was employed my wife, like any other spouse, attended a fundraiser at the food pantry and many of my co-workers had the opportunity to meet her as my spouse," Simon shared.

Simon has received a lot of support; an online petition has more than 20-thousand signatures.

St. Francis Xavier hired Simon's replacement in June.

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