Gay couple claim discrimination after Catholic archdiocese rejects headstone design for their cemetery plot

Greg Bourke presents the headstone design which was rejected by the Archdiocese of Louisville for violating Church teaching on marriage.(Screenshot/Wave 3 News video)

Two plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalised same-sex marriage in the U.S. last year are accusing the Archdiocese of Louisville in Kentucky of discrimination after it rejected a headstone design they submitted for themselves to be placed on their cemetery plot after their death.

Greg Bourke and Michael De Leon, who were plaintiffs in the case, said the archdiocese rejected their design, which depicted the facade of the Supreme Court and two rings, for the headstone that will be used at Saint Michael Cemetery in Louisville.

In a letter, Catholic Cemeteries executive director Javier Fajardo told the gay couple that the "cemetery is a sacred place that serves the faithful and witnesses to the Good News of Jesus Christ and the hope we share in the resurrection."

He said after reviewing the couple's design, cemetery officials approved the shared stone with both of their names and dates of birth and the religious symbol of the cross.

"However, we cannot approve the depiction of the Supreme Court building and the use of the wedding rings," saying these conflict with the teachings of the Church, Fajardo said.

He told them that "your proposed markings are not in keeping with this requirement."

"It's pretty clear when you read the letter that this is a clear case of LGBT discrimination," said Bouke, according to Wave News 3.

He said they wanted to see if they have the legal challenge against the decision.

"Honestly there are legal protection laws, there's an exclusion in the fairness ordinance that protect religious organisations, so that they have a licence to discriminate," he added.

Bourke and De Leon got married in Canada in 2004.

In a statement, the archdiocese said the depiction of the building and the wedding rings were "not in keeping with Church teaching about marriage."

"Mr. Bourke and Mr. De Leon are welcome to present another headstone design for approval," it said, according to the Huffington Post.

The Catholic League defended the archdiocese in the issue.

President Bill Donohue said Bourke and De Leon "are not interested in tolerance; they want to impose their secular views on the Catholic Church."

"Hopefully, this contrived exercise in victimhood will open the eyes of those Americans who fail to distinguish between ordinary gays and militant gay activists," he said, according to LifeSiteNews. "It is the latter, along with their heterosexual allies, who are seeking to sexually engineer our society—not even bathrooms and showers are off-limits—practicing intolerance in the name of 'rights.'"