.- In a statement issued by Communications Director Ned McGrath, the Archdiocese of Detroit, has defended the actions of Fr. Michael Bugarin, pastor of St. Joan of Arc parish in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, who is accused of discriminating against an openly lesbian couple seeking to become members of the parish. Mary Horon and her civil partner Cheryl Mathers say that they were denied membership in the church because they are “openly gay”, and because they applied for membership in the parish as “a couple.”
On Monday, Horon told Michigan’s ‘Macomb Daily’ that the issue is “blatantly about us being gay and the church condemning homosexuality."
The statement released by the Archdiocese said that, "The Catholic Church is committed to the support of -- and a belief in -- the marriage of one man and one woman, and does not recognize so-called same-sex unions, whether civil or otherwise, period."
It continues: “to register in a parish as 'gay couple,' provides, in fact, a recognition the Church cannot concede. At the same time, any individual who embraces the teachings of the Catholic Church is welcomed in the parishes of the Detroit Archdiocese."
While Horon and Mathers say that their membership denial is “blatant discrimination,” and that, “They teach hate at that church”, some St. Joan of Arc parishioners see it differently.
Linda O'Donnell told the Macomb Daily that the church is "a very open and loving parish."
"Is the Catholic Church the place where you want to express your lifestyle in the first place?" O'Donnell asked. "There are a lot of other religions out there. It seems like they're doing it for publicity."
While the Detroit-based ‘Triangle Foundation’, a gay and lesbian advocacy group, blasted the church’s actions, McGrath called the group’s comments “misinformed and misguided.”
"More importantly,” he said, “it ignores the Church's rejection of unjust discrimination against homosexuals, or to be accepted as individuals with respect, compassion and sensitivity."