A gay couple in Massachusetts sued a Roman Catholic diocese on Monday for allegedly bringing bigotry into a real estate deal by refusing to sell the couple a mansion for fear that it would one day play host to a big, fabulous gay wedding, sex party, or roller disco. Any of those scenarios would violate a particularly meddlesome church policy that forbids selling church property once used for worship to anyone who would then use that property for some sinful activity that the church doesn't sanction. Like premarital sex, pagan goat sacrifices, condom balloon animal expos or same-sex marriages.
The couple contends that they were all set to buy Oakhurst, a former Catholic retreat center, and turn it into a place they could live as well as host special business get-togethers. Although the idea of living in a former Catholic retreat may strike some impartial observers as creepy waxing bone-chilling, the couple was pretty thrilled about the prospect of throwing Communion-themed wine and cheese parties until a building inspection revealed some issues with the 30-room mansion, prompting the couple to drop their offer price from $1 million to $550,000 (the property had been listed at $1.45 million).
Though the couple has claimed discrimination as the culprit deal-killer, the diocese's attorney says that the diocese stopped negotiations in June when it became apparent that the prospective buyers might have trouble financing the purchase. For its part, the diocese didn't even know the would-be buyers were gay, so there you go. How could the diocese discriminate against people before learning about their sexual orientation?
An email the diocesan Chancellor Thomas Sullivan sent his real estate agent, however, seems to indicate that the "potentiality of gay marriages" being held at Oakhurst were a deal-breaker, which, according to the couple's attorney, is tantamount to the diocese screening prospective buyers for the appropriate level of bigotry.