Catholic Church Fires Gay Music Director Suffering From Parkinson’s

26 Feb

As gay people, we are certainly no strangers to criticism, hatred and discrimination coming from the Catholic Church. And those who stand against equality are very fast to make claims that if marriage equality is passed, they will most certainly be sued until gays can marry in their churches. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they continue to make these bogus statements.

Of course, we see the utter hypocrisy coming from a place that has been no stranger to sexual scandals for generation upon generation, but what about the gays and lesbians who are still practicing Catholics? Specifically, what about the gay employees who continue to work for an employer which promotes intolerance against them?

Steav Bates-Congdon (R) and his husband Bill

One such former employee, Steav Bates-Congdon, worked as music director for St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Charlotte, NC. Steav had worked for the congregation since 2004, and parishioners claim he’d been very open about his sexuality and his relationship of 23 years since his first job interviews. So imagine his surprise when he returned from his honeymoon after getting hitched in New York, to find his job was no more.

After a visit to the church following an emergency hospital stay for a burst appendix, he was handed a note by Rev. Frank O’Rourke which stated: “Employees of St. Gabriel … are expected to live within the moral tradition of the Church. … Your civil marriage stands in direct opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church, therefore ending your employment with us.”

In June of 2011, Steav told Rev. O’Rourke of his intended nuptials and O’Rourke responded with a “Congratulations, I’m happy for you,” and followed with “but I can’t give you my blessing.” Steav replied “I wouldn’t ask you to.” More than six months later, he was out of a job. Had O’Rourke raised any concerns at the time, Steav said they would have postponed the wedding until they didn’t have to depend so much on his income.

To add insult to injury, Steav suffers from young-onset Parkinson’s disease and participates in Michael J. Fox Foundation clinical research in the hopes of finding a cure. We hope that he is able to find another job that will pay his health insurance as the compassion of the Catholic church that once employed him has seemingly gone out the window.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision, the church, along with 29 states can legally fire anyone they want for being gay or lesbian.

4 Responses to “Catholic Church Fires Gay Music Director Suffering From Parkinson’s”

  1. March 20, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    He sounds a really good guy and Jesus does love him as always. But firing the man because he is gay or what ever isn`t right. But i am against the Catholics because i am a christian and i know that firing someone just because they are gay isn`t right and respectful to god. So, how about this aband Cathlic religion and allow Same-sex marriage in the U.S. I had a boyfriend name Joe and i want to date him. But i do know Joe Haley from Market Basket food store where i use to work in Stratham, N.H. When i am done with being in the Marine Core, i will date Joe Haley and ask him to marry me. Because i am from Vermont and i love Joe

  2. DEBRA TAVELLA April 27, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    Really good article, Interesting and useful, apart from this I am a student and want to share info about Jason Halek. I really got inspired about him & want to know more about him as far as I got to know about him. He was only 10 years old when he started working small jobs in his community and then he started business of soft drink and now he is the successful business man. He owns several oil and gas production companies. Jason Halek is not only the successful business man but also a philanthropist. He established Halek Charities & nonprofit organization dedicated to providing assistance to various humanitarian causes. Any further information about him is greatly appreciated.


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