For nearly a year, Colleen Simon served as her local Catholic church's head of distribution of food to the hungry, a job she says she loved because it joined her passion for social justice with her faith. However, the church asked her to resign after her marriage to a woman became public knowledge, the Kansas City Star reports.
She and her wife, Donna Simon, were married in Iowa in 2012. Colleen informed the Star that in July 2013, when she was hired at St. Francis Xavier Church in Kansas City, Missouri, she had disclosed her martial status to the pastor; but, she told the paper, she had often used words like “my spouse” or “my beloved” to refer to Donna.
They were apparently outed by an April 30 Kansas City Star profile on Colleen and her work for the church's food pantry. Colleen told the Star in an interview this week that the discussion of her stepping down from her position began after the profile's publication.
Donna, a reverend at Kansas City's St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, took to Facebook on Thursday morning to proclaim her admiration for how her wife has dealt with the situation:
I am so very proud of Colleen Simon, who has handled this whole mess with amazing grace. She reluctantly agreed to have this story told, because she wants to encourage change. No one should have to go through this -- to be fired for being who they are.
St. Francis Xavier Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment.