North Carolina Church Fires Music Director For Marrying In New York

After eight years of service, St. Gabriel Catholic Church fired its music director, Steav Bates-Congdon, because he went to New York and married his same-sex partner of 23 years. St. Gabriel has one of the largest Catholic congregations in the state of North Carolina with about 10,000 members. Bates-Congdon was open about his sexuality while he worked for the Church, and even resigned as artistic director of Charlotte’s One Voice Chorus, a gay and lesbian vocal group, to placate the church. It was only upon his marriage in October that church leaders sought to fire him for violating Catholic doctrine. Given the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the “ministerial exception” that gives religious organizations free reign over hiring and firing, there are no protections that would give Bates-Congdon recourse in the matter.