Longtime St. Anthony's Church volunteer barred from service over same-sex marriage

Coppola was rem from his duties as a eucharistic minister and a religious educator at St. Anthony's Church in Oceanside due to his sexual orientation.

Coppola was rem from his duties as a eucharistic minister and a religious educator at St. Anthony's Church in Oceanside due to his sexual orientation. (4/5/13)

OCEANSIDE - A man who volunteered for years at St. Anthony's Church in Oceanside has been stripped of his church duties after marrying his longtime male partner.

Nicholas Coppola served many functions at the Catholic church, including being a lector, altar server, religious educator and eucharistic minister. Following his marriage in October, an anonymous letter complaining of his public ministering was sent to the Diocese of Rockville Center. St. Anthony's pastor then stripped Coppola of his duties, saying his marriage violated Catholic teachings.

The diocese is standing by the removal, but insists it is not because Coppola is gay. The diocese says the same would have happened to a heterosexual parishioner who remarried after a divorce.

Coppola says his faith is stronger than ever, despite the ordeal. He also says he'll continue to worship at the church.

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