Watch: Beloved Catholic School Music Teacher Fired for Marrying His Partner

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday October 27, 2021
Originally published on October 27, 2021

A beloved Catholic school music teacher in Queens, New York, has lost his job because he married his partner, reported the New York Daily News.

The Brooklyn Diocese fired Matthew LaBanca from teaching at St. Joseph's Catholic Academy in Astoria and as music director at Corpus Christi church on Oct. 13 after someone told Diocese officials that he married his partner in August.

LaBanca shared the news in a video posted over the weekend and called the termination "a capricious, discriminatory practice against the LGBTQ community."

Moreover, LaBanca shared that he has lost his livelihood and his community life in the process.

"I'm stripped of both of my jobs, all of my employment, my health insurance and, most importantly, the community life that has meant so much to me, not because of my work performance — not in the slightest — but because I'm gay," he said.

LaBanca is a veteran of the Broadway stage who has appeared in multiple shows and on TV.

The Diocese claimed that his same-sex marriage violated a contractual obligation to "exemplify ... Catholic doctrine and morality."

A committee of high-ranking officials reportedly met for six weeks to discuss the fate of LaBanca's employment and ultimately decided to fire him because his marriage.

LaBanca assigns blame to Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, the official in charge of the Brooklyn Diocese, which oversees parishes in Brooklyn and Queens.

"DiMarzio made headlines in 2011 for banning lawmakers who voted in favor of same sex marriage from appearing at churches or schools in the Brooklyn Diocese," the NY Daily News writes.

Additionally, a Diocese spokesman did not dispute LaBanca's telling of events, sharing in a statement that "despite changes to New York State law in 2011 legalizing same-sex marriage, Church law is clear."

"In [LaBanca's] case, it has been determined that he can no longer fulfill his obligations as a minister of the faith at either the school or the parish," according to the Diocese.

Although LaBanca acknowledged that the Diocese's decision to let him go may fall within their bounds of law to do so, "just because something is legal doesn't make it right," he said.