Federal and county officials are getting involved in allegations of discrimination, after a Catholic choir director says he was fired for professing plans to marry his gay lover.
The complaint filed Thursday is expected to trigger investigations EEOC and the Cook County Commission on Human Rights and could make for a landmark lawsuit.
It started this summer with a Facebook posting. Colin Collette announced he was engaged to be married to his longtime lover following the passage of Illinois’ same sex marriage law.
The post came to the attention of church leaders, and within days, Colette was fired from his choir director job at Holy Family Parish in Inverness.
Collette was told his plans to marry his gay lover would place him in a “non-sacramental marriage” in the Catholic Church’s eyes.
Attorneys for Collette insist after Cardinal George learned of the post, he instructed parish leaders to “deal with this.”
Collette says a meeting with the Cardinal produced no results and he also appealed to Chicago’s new archbishop Blasé Cupich.
“We were hopeful the new archbishop would support take a look at this and support us on this,” said attorney Kerry Lavelle. “We didn’t even have an opportunity to have that dialogue. So we came to a dead end and we had to file.”
In an effort to get Collette’s job back, today he and his attorneys filed two complaints alleging “employment discrimination” on the part of Holy Family Parish.
If this case elevates to a lawsuit, it could be the first of its kind in Illinois.
Parishioners say this dispute has even divided the parish.
The Diocese is not commenting on this case and says attorneys have yet to read the complaint.
Attorneys believe this case could make it all the way to the Supreme Court.
Right now Collette has taken a job a flower shopand he has yet to marry his longtime partner.