Gay Couple Shunned By Church In Northbridge Property Deal

Northbridge Daily Voice

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – A sign in front of the Sutton home of Alain Beret and James Fairbanks says it is for sale. They’d expected to move soon to the former Chester Whitin Lasell estate on Hill Street, oversee its restoration, and open the historic mansion to weddings and other public events.

Their dream was dashed when the property owner, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester, backed out of the deal, and the couple believe it is because they are gay.

Beret said the diocese’s real estate broker sent them an email telling them their $75,000 deposit would be returned because the church wanted to pursue “other plans.’’

However, that email included a thread of messages, one from Monsignor Thomas Sullivan to the broker, which says: “I just went down the hall and discussed it with the bishop. 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.” …

The property most recently was being used by the church as a retreat. Prior to that it was the House of Affirmation where troubled priests were treated.

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