Colleen Simon had her dream job at a Catholic church in Kansas City, Missouri before the church - St. Francis Xavier Church – fired her last May for being married to another woman. Today, Simon is standing up against this injustice and filing a lawsuit against the Kansas City Diocese.
By all accounts, Simon (shown left in the image, with her wife, Donna Simon) was an excellent employee. She was a hard worker, increasing donations to the pantry tenfold during her tenure; and extraordinarily passionate for her work, being a woman of deep faith who took the Catholic church's social mission of helping others in need very seriously.
At the time of her firing, Simon expressed her devastation to KSHB-TV,
I am hurt and saddened by the events of the last two weeks. I have been dismissed from a job that I love, a job that I was called to by God. I love the people of St. Francis Xavier. They are compassionate faithful souls serving those most in need in the community and the world. I will always appreciate the time that I spent working among them. As we all go forward, I will continue to pray for a day when all are loved and embraced by our churches.
Although Simon was open to her employers about her relationship at the time of her employment, it wasn't until a local newspaper article was published detailing Simon and her wife's positive social change in the area, as well as mentioning that they are married, that Simon received news that she was fired from her job.
During her dismissal, the pastor referred to a letter that ordered her firing sent directly from the Diocese. Simon was initially cautious not to publicize the incident, or to place herself in an adversarial role against a church and community she was so committed to. However, after receiving an outpouring of support –including via Faithful America’s petition that surpassed the increased goal of 20,000 signatures – and exhausting all other recourse, Simon resolved to take a stand.
Since being fired from her dream job, Simon, a cancer survivor with many outstanding bills, and her wife are struggling to make ends meet because the Church doesn't pay unemployment insurance.