Professor Who Says He’s No Longer Gay Sues Over Contract Nonrenewal

A Roman Catholic who publicly renounced identifying as gay says Western Michigan University chose to not renew his contract after a quarter-century there due to his religious views on homosexuality.

Daniel Mattson sued Monday the university’s president, its College of Fine Arts dean, its School of Music director and a former director. His lawsuit, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, says he is a “world-class trombonist” who worked as an adjunct professor and performer for the university since 1999.

He also wrote the 2017 memoir Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality and Found Peace. For First Things, he wrote the 2018 article “Why Men Like Me Should Not Be Priests.”

“In the fall of 2021, campus activists discovered Mr. Mattson’s writings on Catholicism and same-sex attraction,” his lawsuit says. “They claimed that his Catholic views were offensive to homosexual students and protested his continued affiliation with the school. In short order, the school administration removed Mr. Mattson from a student-faculty ensemble, and did not renew his annual contract. Even though Mr. Mattson never expressed his religious views at Western Michigan University, he was maligned and punished solely for holding to and expressing orthodox Catholic teaching elsewhere.”

Mattson is alleging violations of his federal constitutional rights to freedom of speech, religion and equal protection. His lawsuit seeks, among other things, financial damages and his job back.

A university spokeswoman told Inside Higher Ed Thursday that “As this is a matter of pending litigation, I cannot comment on it.”

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