A Michigan diocese is backing a priest after he refused to give communion to a female judge because she had a wife. Judge Sara Smolenski, chief judge of the Kent County District Court, has been a member of St Stephen Catholic Church for more than half a century. She said that the church formed her personality and taught that no matter who you are, you should be loved. Three years ago, Smolenski married to her long-time partner of 27 years. Her marriage was a public news story and her priest knew about it. But this month, just out of the blue, he called her and said she would no longer be able to receive the Eucharist at the parish. He reportedly demanded that she “respect the church” and not return for the sacrament in the future, citing her marriage to her spouse Linda as a reason. The priest told the news channel that he simply “taught what all of the popes who have ever said something about the emergent family have said up to and including Pope Francis,” regarding the reception of holy communion. The Diocese of Grand Rapids confirmed this in a statement on Thursday, and said they expressed agreement with the priest.