According to the Worcester Telegram, the offer made by James Fairbanks and Alain Beret for Oakhurst, a dilapidated property in Whitinsville, was initially accepted. Beret and Fairbanks signed the offer, made a deposit and even paid for a home inspection.
But when the broker, LiSandra Rodriguez-Pagan, emailed to say the sale had fallen through, she accidentally included an email from Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, who had written that he wanted to put the kibosh on the Oakhurst deal because there might be gay marriages there. Saints preserve us!
“I just went down the hall and discussed it with the bishop,” Msgr. Sullivan wrote. “Because of the potentiality of gay marriages there, something you shared with us yesterday, we are not interested in going forward with these buyers. I think they’re shaky anyway. So, just tell them that we will not accept their revised plan and the Diocese is making new plans for the property. You find the language.”
We know the Church gets to ignore all kinds of laws—workplace-discrimination bans, requirements to report sexual predators to the authorities, etc. But we’re pretty sure they can’t just skirt Massachusetts real-estate law, which prohibits discriminating against buyers based on sexual orientation.
Telegram reporter Dianne Williamson contacted Father Sullivan, who claimed the cancellation “was an issue of them not having the financing. That was all.”
Oh Padre, lying too? You’re making little baby Jesus weep.
Beret, a former seminarian who has been with his husband for 35 years (they wed in 2004), says the Church can argue whatever it wants from the pulpit, “but they don’t have the right to chase me down with their poison.” He wasn’t looking for a battle, he added, “but for the sake of my dignity, I’m not walking away.”
Considering Oakhurst was once House of Affirmation, a treatment center for pedophile priests that shuttered amid allegations of sexual abuse and financial misconduct, the Church shouldn’t care too much if a few queers want to get married there.