A music director who was asked by a Catholic church in Victoria, Minn., to resign after marrying his longtime partner has now hired the attorney who represented former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe on discrimination issues.

Minneapolis attorney Clayton Halunen said Friday that he was retained by Jamie Moore after St. Victoria Catholic Church asked Moore to resign following his wedding last weekend to his longtime partner.

On Friday, Moore was still listed on the St. Victoria directory, but Halunen said Moore has resigned as requested. He declined to comment any further and said Moore would not be available for comment.

However, he told Fox 9 News on Thursday that he’s preparing to sue Archbishop John Nienstedt for “aiding and abetting discrimination,” adding that Moore was fired not because he was gay but because he married. Halunen said Minnesota churches are allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation but not on marital status.

At St. Victoria, Deacon Ray Ortman said Friday that the church has received a lot of feedback from inside and outside the parish about Moore’s resignation. He said the Rev. Bob White will address the congregation about it during masses at 5 p.m. Saturday as well as at 8:45 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Sunday.

“Jamie will be sorely missed, and we wish him every happiness,” White said in a note to the parish earlier this week, adding that Moore’s marriage conflicts with official church teachings and that Nienstedt asked for Jamie’s resignation.

In a statement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Nienstedt said that he is not involved in employment issues at the parish level but that he was consulted about the employment matter, “and I responded by saying the teachings of the Church must be upheld, including the pastoral response of working with an employee whose actions are contrary to the Catholic faith.”

He added that the church’s employment policy states that an employee can be immediately discharged if his or her public conduct is “inconsistent with the faith, morals, teachings and laws of the Catholic Church.”

At Catholic schools, similar situations have unfolded in recent years. Last year, Totino-Grace High School teacher Kristen Ostendorf lost her job after acknowledging she was gay. And the school’s former president, Bill Hudson, resigned after revealing he was in a same-sex relationship.

Halunen recently represented Kluwe, who threatened to sue the Vikings for more than $10 million because the team wouldn’t release its full investigation into his claims that the team has a culture of discrimination. Last month, the two sides reached an out-of-court settlement well in excess of $100,000 with donations being made to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups. Kluwe didn’t receive any money in the settlement.

 

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