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Massachusetts gay couple sues church over nixed house sale; diocese feared they'd host gay weddings

BY JAY LINDSAY, ASSOCIATED PRESS

BOSTON -- A gay couple from Massachusetts sued a Roman Catholic diocese Monday for allegedly refusing to sell them a mansion because church officials were concerned they would host gay weddings there.

James Fairbanks, 59, and Alain Beret, 57, filed suit in Worcester Superior Court for loss of civil rights and dignity and for emotional distress.

The married couple from Sutton planned to buy Oakhurst, a former Catholic retreat center in Northbridge, and restore it as a place they could live and host a special events business.

But the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester ended negotiations in June, and the couple alleged they learned why in an email they inadvertently received in which diocesan Chancellor Thomas Sullivan cited concern "about the potentiality of gay marriages there."

The couple's attorney, Sergio Carvajal, said it's obvious his clients were discriminated against because they're gay.

"It is wrong and it is illegal," he said.

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