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Gay Catholic School Teacher in Ohio Fights Firing

by John Seewer
Monday Apr 29, 2013
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A gay teacher who said she was fired by an Ohio Catholic school after her mother’s published obituary included the name of her partner is fighting to get her job back.

Carla Hale, 57, said she was told she was being let go because her relationship is against teachings of the church.

She plans to file a complaint this week with the city of Columbus, which prohibits firings based on sexual orientation, her attorney said Monday. She already filed a grievance that is now in the hands of a union representing teachers in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Some current and former students have rallied behind the physical education teacher, staging a protest outside the diocese headquarters and starting an online petition that has collected about 100,000 supporters.

Hale said she was fired during Holy Week in March after an anonymous letter sent to school administrators drew attention to the obituary published in The Columbus Dispatch.

A copy of the letter provided by her attorney was signed "a concerned parent."

"My daughter came home and told me that one of the gym teacher’s mother had died," the letter said. "She asked me to pray for her. When we looked in the obituaries, I was shocked by what I saw. It had her teacher’s name and that of her ’spouse’ listed. It was two females!"

Hale, who is Methodist, was informed about two weeks after her mother’s death that the school was investigating, but she never had a chance to discuss it with school leaders, said attorney Thomas Tootle.

Hale, who had spent 19 years teaching at Bishop Watterson High School, said the decision to acknowledge her partner was not immoral.

"It’s kind of baffling that someone would take an obituary and use it, to me, in such a mean-spirited manner," Hale said at a news conference last week.

The Diocese of Columbus would not comment directly about the firing, but it said school employees can’t go against teachings of the church.

"All Catholic school personnel at the outset of their employment agree that they will abide by the rules, regulations and policies of the Catholic Diocese, including respecting the moral values advanced by the teachings of Christ," the diocese said in a statement.

Hale’s attorney said he will file a complaint Tuesday with a Columbus community relations board, arguing that the firing violates the city ordinance on employers discriminating based on sexual orientation. Another option is a wrongful termination lawsuit, Tootle said.

He said some courts have allowed religious groups exemptions to similar discrimination laws, but he thinks the case is similar to one in Cincinnati where a teacher challenged her firing by the archdiocese over her use of artificial insemination to become pregnant. A federal judge has allowed that lawsuit to continue.

Copyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2013-04-29 17:41:57

    Fuck the Catholic Church. Gay people en masse should start suing the church. Not a class action suit mind you, but thousands - hundreds if thousands- of individual lawsuits against the Catholics for their bullshit.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-29 21:50:23

    OMG...two FEMALES!!!!? You’re shocked because you live your life in a twisted religious and heterosexist bubble. Love thy neighbor, not get her fired...


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-30 03:01:59

    Bonk right is right and that is exactly what the court system is for you don’t like it talk to your government reps and get the system changed.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-30 08:02:26

    Brutal


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-30 09:40:47

    ’A few select’ PLEASE the Catholic Church has for decades if not centuries covered up their misdeeds their behavior is criminal and on an institutional level. Instead of bashing us for our stance here you should be bashing YOUR church for ALL their crimes and ALL of their intolerance.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-30 11:16:30

    Really people? It is not news that the Catholic Church frowns upon homosexuals. However, it’s still America and we enjoy desperation of Church


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-30 18:36:18

    It’s certainly not news that the Catholic Church frowns upon homosexuality and yet corners the market on man-on-boy pediphilia. Way to go Catholics! Stick your head in the sand. Don’t demand justice. Willingly send your children forth into touchy feely priests. And keep on giving that hard earned $$$ to them. What would Jesus do? Apparently according to catholic dogma he would destroy families; divorce gay children; shun anyone who isn’t exactly like themselves; and cling to that catch all ’love the sinner’ BSPathetic. Jesus has about as much to do with organized religion as Newt Gingrich has with fidelity.


  • Anonymous, 2013-04-30 19:54:34

    1 more thing, where does the Bible indicate that Christ ever taught anything at all about sexuality?


  • Jim Shea, 2013-05-01 17:42:55

    Why gay people have anything to do with that homophobic immoral institution is crazy. They don’t want us and frankly they have nothing to offer. It’s sickly ironic that the church is so gay while going after us. It is a bizarre institution and now essentially a 3rd world church. They are even going after nuns now. I could care less what they say or think but it’s sad that this teacher had to suffer losing her job.


  • Anonymous, 2013-05-02 05:23:38

    True that. The Catholic Church is a sinking ship.


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