A therapist in Saginaw, Michigan was fired after refusing to provide marriage counseling to a gay couple, citing her Catholic faith as the impetus behind her decision. Believing her dismissal was unjust, Kathleen Lorentzen has now filed a lawsuit claiming religious discrimination.
Lorentzen, who worked for HealthSource Saginaw from 2011 until her September 2017 firing, had counseled several gay individuals in the past, according to her lawyer, B. Tyler Brooks. After she began to counsel a married gay couple, however, she requested the couple be transferred to another counselor, saying her religious beliefs prevented her from counseling them. Her request was not accepted.
“Even its medical director, upon learning that Ms. Lorentzen has been terminated, said not only should he have been involved before any decision like that was made, but that would have been very easy and that would have been the proper thing to do.”
In the lawsuit, Lorentzen claims that she was fired because she was Catholic. Her former employer strongly disputes that claim. Thomas Vincent, who is the legal counsel for HealthSource Saginaw, stated to WNEM:
“HealthSource Saginaw steadfastly denies Ms. Lorentzen’s fundamentally false allegations and is extremely disheartened by her choice to knowingly publish a work of fiction disguised as a legal pleading. Due to the fact that litigation is pending neither I nor HealthSource Saginaw will issue any public comment beyond this: HealthSource Saginaw is committed to prohibiting all forms of illegal discrimination and retaliation on its premises.”
In situations like these, immediately claiming “discrimination” shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the word. Perhaps Lorentzen should put herself in the couple’s shoes and see that their marriage was being invalidated by a therapist, a person they should trust. No one is infringing upon her right to be Catholic, and to practice her religious beliefs. However, when these beliefs conflict with other people’s right to be respected and to seek help in the medical and psychological fields, such an affront to the couple’s inherent dignity is unacceptable.
Above all, Catholics are called to welcome and to embrace as Jesus did. After only two sessions, Lorentzen,in the name of religion, chose to turn away from a couple seeking helpEven if it was difficult for her to stay, perhaps she may have learned something about the nature of LGBTQ relationships: that they are just the same as straight ones, and equally as deserving of respect and care.
—Lindsay Hueston, New Ways Ministry, July 13, 2018