Most. Rev. John Stowe, bishop of Lexington, Ky., apologized to an educator fired for being gay at a public event. He made the comments at a virtual convention of the College Theology Society.
“As part of male hierarchy, I apologize for the pain it has caused you,” Bp. Stowe said to Margie Winters.
Winters was fired in 2015 from her position as religious education director in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia—after parents complained about their children being exposed to a lesbian marriage.
She shared her story during a breakout session of the convention.
“You tell a story that has happened to you and so many others.” The cleric continued, “To be betrayed by an institution you love.”
Bp. Stowe signed a letter sponsored by The Tyler Clementi Foundation earlier this year. It asks the Church to be more compassionate in the treatment of LGBTQ persons—especially youth and young adults.
The letter is called “God is on your side.”
“All people of goodwill should help, support, and defend LGBTQ youth; who attempt suicide at much higher rates than their straight counterparts; who are often homeless because of families who reject them; who are rejected, bullied and harassed; and who are the target of violent acts at alarming rates,” the bishops said in their statement.
Established in 1954, the College Theology Society is a professional association of Catholic theologians.
Bp. Stowe is in opposition to fellow members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) which uphold a conservative message against civil rights for LGBTQ persons—because the Church teaches same-sex attraction is 'not natural.'
The USCCB has most recently coalesced around the issue of the Equality Act—hoping devoutly Christian U.S. senators will vote against it.
The Equality Act would supplement the Civil Rights Act of 1964—giving LGBTQ the same federal civil rights protections people of color were given then.
It only needs passage by the U.S. Senate and the signature of President Joe Biden to become law.
Biden is the first Catholic president since John F. Kennedy.