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Church fires dedicated Irish American charity worker for being gay

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An Irish American woman, head of distribution of food to the hungry for her Catholic Church in Kansas City, MO has been forced to step down from her position because her marriage to a woman became public knowledge.

The Catholic website Faithful America is now hosting petitions to let her “resume feeding the hungry.” Their tagline is “Love thy neighbor, no exceptions.”

Colleen Simon said she loved her job as it joined her passion for social justice with her faith. She managed the service that fed 70 families every month. However, following a profile of Simon in the Kansas City Star, which brought to light the fact that her spouse was a woman, she was forced out of her position.

She married her wife, Donna Simon, in Iowa in 2013. In July 2013 she was hired by St. Francis Xavier Church in Kansas City. She told the Kansas City Star that when she referred to her partner she tended to be vague calling Donna her “spouse” or “beloved.”

On April 30 the profile of Simon featured in the Kansas City Star about her work in the Church’s food pantry outed the happy couple. She told the paper that it was after this article that the Church began discussing her stepping down from her position.

Her wife, Donna, a reverend at Kansas City's St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, posted on Facebook, praising Colleen for how she dealt with the situation.

She wrote, “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.”

The petition site states, “even now, she bears no ill will toward her church, instead praying for 'the day when we are all loved and embraced by our churches.'"

It continues, “One of Pope Francis's top bishops in Italy recently called for including gay Christians in church life, less than a year after Francis himself called for a new tone. But the local bishop, Robert Finn, seems not to have gotten the message.

“Bishop Finn needs to see first-hand that the church is changing – let's show him just how many Christians are standing with Colleen.”

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