Gay Teacher Fired for Engagement Sues Catholic School
A former band director and music instructor at a Catholic school in Macon, Ga., has filed a lawsuit against the school this week, claiming gender discrimination, stating he was fired after he revealed he was planning to marry another man, NPR reports (via LGBTQ Nation).
According to Flint Dollar, he was fired from Mount de Sales Academy in May after taking to Facebook to announce he was engaged to his longtime partner and planned to tie the knot in Minnesota this summer.
Georgia does not have any state laws prohibiting employers from firing someone based on their sexual orientation but Dollar told NPR that he is citing gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as the basis of his lawsuit. He added that he was out at Mount de Sales Academy and that he was clear with Church officials when he was hired that he is gay.
On the last day of school in May, however, Dollar claims he was called to see the school president.
"When you're called in the last part of the day on the last day of the week, it's not a good sign," Dollar said. "I was told that ... the bishop of the Diocese of Savannah called and expressed his concern that if I was to return it would be against the teachings of the Catholic Church."
According to Dollar's attorney, Charles Cox, Dollar was let go from the school because he did not conform to gender stereotypes.
"When you fire somebody because they are engaging in a same-sex marriage, I think that pretty clearly fits with gender discrimination," Cox told NPR. "You're being fired because you're not complying with traditional gender stereotypes, and that's wrong, and we believe it's unlawful."
Cox brought up an argument used in another civil rights case brought by Peter TerVeer, a federal worker who claimed he was fired from the Library of Congress and was discriminated against after his boss discovered he was gay.
"His romantic or intimate interest in men is something that the women workers at the office were not penalized for, but he was," LGBT rights attorney Greg Nevins, who is assisting in that case, told NPR. "[TerVeer] made that claim in federal district court, and the court allowed it to proceed, despite a motion to dismiss by the Department of Justice."
Dollar says he will not return to the Catholic school even if he wins his suit.