A married same-sex couple in Massachusetts plans to sue the Diocese of Worcester and a church-affiliated nonprofit for refusing to sell them a former mansion at which they hoped to run an inn that would host gay weddings, The Boston Globe says.
James Fairbanks and Alain Beret claim that discrimination prompted the diocese and the nonprofit House of Affirmation to abruptly end negotiations to sell the 26-acre Oakhurst estate in Northbridge, Mass., formerly used as a religious retreat center.
The couple said they had reached a preliminary agreement to buy the property for $1-million but the talks broke off in June. They said they did not know why until a church attorney mistakenly forwarded to their broker an e-mail from an official of the diocese, Msgr. Thomas Sullivan, stating that he was no longer interested in the sale “because of a potentiality of gay marriages” at the site.
Monsignor Sullivan told the Globe that he only learned from the broker weeks after the deal fell through that the couple intended to hold same-sex weddings at Oakhurst. He said the deal fizzled as a result of concerns about Mr. Beret and Mr. Fairbanks’ financing and because the terms of the sale were unacceptable to the church.