A Catholic therapist in Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer, claiming that she was dismissed from her job last year after she asked not to be forced to counsel a same-sex married couple. An attorney for the company has labeled the allegations as “false.”
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan last week, Katherine Lorentzen worked as a contracted outpatient behavioral therapist for HealthSource Saginaw from 2011 until 2017.
Last summer, a gay couple was referred to her for marriage counseling. The complaint claims that Lorentzen saw the couple on two separate occasions. However, she eventually came to the conviction that she could no longer see the couple for marriage counseling because she felt doing so would violate the teachings of her Catholic faith on marriage.
According to the Catholic Church, marriage is the “faithful, exclusive, and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife in an intimate partnership of life and love.”
On Aug. 23, Lorentzen told her supervisor, Mark Kraynak, about her objections and inquired if she could refer the gay couple to to another therapist in order to accommodate her own religious beliefs.
According to the complaint, Kraynak “became very angry,” which caused the discussion to end as Lorentzen left the room. It wasn’t until the next day when the conversation continued.
“Mr. Kraynak asked that Mrs. Lorentzen have a letter typed telling the couple they were being referred to another therapist because Mrs. Lorentzen was reducing her hours,” the complaint alleges.
The lawsuit claims that Lorentzen left a “handwritten draft” with the office secretary to be typed up. But on Aug. 29, Lorentzen was told by the secretary that she was instructed not to type up the letter but to call the clients directly without Lorentzen’s knowledge.
The legal document explains that Lorentzen was called into a meeting later that day with Kraynak and Colton Reed, HealthSource’s outpatient manager.
“During this exchange, Mrs. Lorentzen objected that she felt like she was being harassed and discriminated against because of her religion,” the lawsuit claims. “Mr. Kraynak told Mrs. Lorentzen that she had to be ‘a social worker first, and a Catholic second.'”
Lorentzen alleges that she tried to defend her beliefs by pointing out the official position of the Catholic Church on marriage. In response, she was told by Kraynak that “they are just priests.”
On Sept. 6, Lorentzen received a letter from Program Executive Mark Puckett, informing her that she was being terminated in 30 days.
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Source: Christian Post