OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (AP) -- A Long Island parishioner removed from volunteer duties at a Catholic church because he is gay plans to formally demand reinstatement.
Nicholas Coppola tells Newsday he will deliver petitions signed by more than 18,000 supporters to the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Coppola was ousted from his duties at St. Anthony's parish in Oceanside after the diocese received an anonymous letter complaining he is gay.
Coppola, who's been openly gay for years, volunteered as a Eucharistic minister, religion teacher and visitor for homebound sick.
The petition drive was led by Faithful America, a Washington, D.C. group that opposes "right-wing extremism."
The diocese says anyone in public ministerial positions must take public positions consistent with Catholic teachings.
Coppola married his partner last October under the state's same-sex marriage law.