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Gay church group ousted from Catholic building

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Metropolitan Community Church of Greater New Orleans, which serves gays and lesbians, has been kicked out of a building owned by the local Roman Catholic diocese.

The Rev. William Maestri, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, said the one-year lease with the church was terminated because "this particular group blesses gay unions, which we do not support."

The congregation had been renting the space while searching for a permanent home, but now must leave by Nov. 4. The archdiocese's building is home to the Project Lazarus complex, which provides hospice service to AIDS patients.

The Rev. Dexter Brecht, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church, said the decision was "another blatant example of the homophobic policies present in the Archdiocese of New Orleans."

The Catholic Church teaches that gay sex is "intrinsically disordered." Maestri said continuing the lease might give the wrong impression about Catholic teaching.

Metropolitan Community Churches are a fellowship of congregations providing a place of worship for gays and lesbians. Those affiliated with the fellowship offer a union ceremony for gay couples.