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Catholic church bars gay man from mass following commitment ceremony

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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MARQUETTE, Mich. — A gay Michigan man says he will worship elsewhere after he was barred from his Catholic church and told he was not allowed to participate in Sunday’s mass with the rest of the congregation.

St-Michael-Catholic-ChurchBobby G. Brown tells WLUC-TV that he was told he could listen to Sunday’s service from the vestibule at St. Michael Catholic Church in Marquette.

A day earlier, Brown and partner Don Roberts held a backyard commitment ceremony after 31 years together.

Brown said the good news of their commitment ceremony spread throughout social media, but was faced with disappointing news when he showed up for mass the next morning.

“They told me if I wanted to worship that I could worship in the vestibule and listen, but that I would not be able to participate,” he said.

Brown began attending Mass at St. Michael eight years ago, became a member five years later and was baptized in the church. He’s served on the pastoral council, as a cantor, lector and choir member.

Marquette Bishop John Doerfler says in a statement that qualifications for public ministry in the Catholic Church include observing church teachings.

Brown says he was very open about his relationship with Roberts, and the church’s action came as a surprise. For now, he says he will find another place to worship.

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