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Plaintiffs in landmark US marriage equality decision accuse the Archdiocese of Louisville of discrimination.

Plaintiffs in landmark US marriage equality decision accuse the Archdiocese of Louisville of discrimination.

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Michael DeLeon & Greg Bourke, with their children, Isaiah & Bella.

Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon were two of the plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case decided last year in the US Supreme Court, which ushered in marriage equality throughout the United States. They were legally married in Canada in 2004 and have two teenaged children, Isaiah and Bella.

Greg & Michael had recently submitted a design of a shared headstone for their joint plot in the St Michael Cemetery in Louisville KY. The design, pictured above, in addition to the personal information for both Greg & Michael, includes two wedding rings and the exterior of the US Supreme Court building in Washington DC.

The Burke-De Leons were notified by the executive director for Catholic cemeteries in the Archdiocese of Louisville, Javier Fajardo, that the design could not be approved for placement in the cemetery. Mr Fajardo stated in a letter to the couple that the “cemetery is a sacred place that serves the faithful and witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ and the hope we share in the resurrection…However, we cannot approve the depiction of the Supreme Court building and the use of the wedding rings…your proposed markings are not in keeping with this requirement.” Mr Fajardo said in the letter that the Burke-De Leons could have a shared headstone with their names and personal information, plus the symbol of the cross and are free to submit another proposal.

Greg & Michael understand that churches are free to discriminate because of protection clauses for religious bodies in fairness legislation, but are exploring the possibility of a legal challenge to the decision.

The main image is a screenshot from WAVE 3 News.
The family photo is from Huffpost.com.
The original story was reported by Christian Today.

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Paul Woodrum

Who is Mr. Fajardo to judge?

Carolyn Peet

According to the article, he is the executive director for Catholic cemeteries in the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Martin Reynolds

But there is no Law and no marriage in heaven …….

Tom Downs

The inflexiblity that characterizes the Roman Catholic Church today is largely the result of what is, in my opinion, an irrational fear of scandal. If Greg & Michael simply put their names and dates, they would have got their headstone. But the picture and wedding rings call attention to the fact of their marriage. Someone might walk by and understand what that meant. O my, the scandal! It’s a Catholic cemetary. What would people think? The RC’s have always cut the corners, as long as no one is likely to notice. They have chosen quiet hypocracy instead of loving kindness.

This strategy worked pretty well for hundreds of years and only in the last 60 years has been failing them. But now it’s at the root of most of their problems with American society. And, I believe, part of the reason Christianity is failing around the world.

Anne Benedict

“The RC’s have always cut the corners, as long as no one is likely to notice. They have chosen quiet hypocracy instead of loving kindness.”

You misunderstand. The Catholic Church operates on a “we won’t pry into your life but you cannot hold yourself out as a Roman Catholic while publicly defying or denouncing Catholic doctrine” basis. That is not hypocrisy.

You are the head of the Democratic Party at the local level. You may go into the voting booth and vote for anybody you want. But if you go on TV and publicly denounce the Democratic party and support Republican candidates, you are going to be removed from your position. That’s called “consistency.”

Thom Forde

Thank you Ms. Benedict for your direct clarity.

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