Catholic Church sued for refusing to sell mansion to gay couple

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A gay couple is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester for allegedly refusing to sell them a mansion because Church officials were concerned they would host gay weddings at the site.

James Fairbanks and Alain Beret of Massachusetts filed the suit on Sept. 9 in superior court in Worcester, Mass.

They allege that they were in negotiations to buy Oakhurst, a former retreat center in Northbridge, when church officials suddenly pulled out.

They say they inadvertently received an email from the chancellor of the diocese to the church’s broker saying the reason was because of the “potentiality of gay marriages” at the home.

Chancellor Thomas Sullivan says the church dropped out of negotiations because of concerns about Fairbanks’ and Beret’s ability to finance the purchase.

The property was known as the House of Affirmation and served as a retreat for troubled priests. The retreat was founded by the Rev. Thomas A. Kane and was in operation from 1973 to 1990, when it was closed after Kane was accused of financial improprieties, according to Kane was subsequently accused of sexual abuse, and allegations of sexual abuse at the facilility then came to light.