Man sues Fontbonne Academy, says he was fired for being gay

Matthew Barrett (right) says his job offer at Fontbonne Academy was rescinded when he told them about his husband.
Matthew Barrett (right) says his job offer at Fontbonne Academy was rescinded when he told them about his husband. –Suzanne Kreiter / Globe staff

A former employee at Fontbonne Academy argued in court on Tuesday that the Catholic all-girls prep school fired him for being gay and violated state anti-discrimination laws in the process.

Matthew Barrett, 43, was offered a job in 2013 as Fontbonne Academy’s food services director. But just a couple days later, he says the offer was rescinded after he listed his husband as his emergency contact, he said.

“[The head of school] said the Catholic religion doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, and that was her excuse,’’ Barrett told The Boston Globe last year. “She said, ‘We cannot hire you.’’’

Backed by lawyers from the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Barrett filed a complaint in court, alleging discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation.

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Fontbonne does not dispute the material facts of the case, according to court documents. In Norfolk County Superior Court on Tuesday, Fontbonne attorney John G. Bagley said that religious schools in Massachusetts are allowed to restrict employment based on religious beliefs.

“How are they able to credibly communicate with their children, their students in theology class about the Catholic faith?’’ Bagley said in court, as seen in video from WCVB. “Mr. Barrett is involved in activity that is inconsistent with the message of the school.’’

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