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Archdiocese of Denver

Catholic Organizations Challenge Firing of Lesbian Religion Teacher

Contact Information: 

Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, 617-669-7810

Jeff Stone, Director of Media Relations, 212-662-9818

A Joint Statement from the leaders of Call To Action, Fortunate Families, DignityUSA, and New Ways Ministry

Denver – June 21, 2010 - Toni Talarico was fired by Catholic officials despite a sterling record of 28 years of teaching religion at a Catholic parish in Denver.  She was fired because she happens to be a lesbian.  And, although Toni was fired in January of this year, the story is now coming to light after months of wrangling over her accrued benefits. 

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Catholic School's Treatment of Child of Lesbian Couple Protested by Many

Leaders of DignityUSA join Catholic families in Boulder, Colorado in expressing extreme disappointment that the young child of lesbian parents has become the Archdiocese's latest target in its attacks on gay, lesbian, and transgender people. The child has been barred from returning to Sacred Heart of Jesus School because of her parents' sexual orientation.

"The Archdiocese of Denver has acted very unjustly in singling out this child for exclusion," said DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke. "Until every students' parents are tested on Catholic teaching, this action by Catholic officials cannot be understood as anything other than discrimination on the back of a child. At a tender age, this child has learned that Catholic officials are willing to inflict pain on children and families. The public is learning that the Catholic hierarchy is willing to place this on the shoulders of children-and then defend such heartlessness by saying they are just following the rules and that Catholics are being persecuted for their beliefs.

"The Archdiocese has chosen to selectively enforce Catholic rules about families while trampling on core Catholic values of compassion, equality, and love. This is tragic for the family involved, and for all who turn to Church officials for moral guidance," added Duddy-Burke.

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