Colorado Catholic School Boots Student With Lesbian Mothers
Boulder conflicted over Catholic school's decision to oust pre-schooler.
March 9, 2010— -- A Colorado Catholic school's decision to deny enrollment to a young child with lesbian mothers has divided the religious community with some questioning whether a preschooler should be used to make a political statement.
The child, currently a preschool student at the Sacred Heart of Jesus school in Boulder, would be allowed to finish out the school year, but would not be readmitted for kindergarten in the fall.
The move came after the parents' sexual orientation drew the attention of the parish priest, the Rev. Bill Breslin, and the Denver archdiocese.
Breslin did not return messages seeking comment, but explained his decision in a lengthy blog posting in which he defended his decision as protecting the child and the parents "from the necessary conflict that their relationship would bring to a clear-seeing and committed Catholic community."
"It is not about punishing the child for the sins of his or her parents," he wrote. " It is simply that the lesbian couple is saying that their relationship is a good one that should be accepted by everyone; and the Church cannot agree to that."
The child's ousting became public after some of the teachers who didn't agree with the decision contacted Boulder Pride, the city's gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender services organization.
The child's parents are adamant, executive director Aicilia Lewis said, about not being identified.
"Like any parent, they want to protect their family," she said.
But some members of the community, including a contingent of heterosexual Catholics, are expressing their anger and frustration on the mothers' behalf.
A group of protesters converged on the church for Sunday's Mass, many carrying signs with statements such as "the true heart of Jesus has love for all."
Even some of Breslin's own parishioners didn't agree with the decision.
"I just feel the Catholic Church is a church that should be teaching acceptance and tolerance. I just don't think this is an example of that," Juli Aderman-Hagerty told ABC's Denver affiliate KMGH. "Father Breslin said it right. We're all sinners. Why discriminate against this end of sinners?"
But his congregation and the Denver archdiocese has largely stuck behind Breslin.
"People who understand the Catholic teaching will understand why the decision was made," Fabien Ardila told KMGH after Mass this past Sunday.