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Missouri

Music teacher at Catholic school fired over plans to wed partner of 20 years

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A popular music teacher at a St. Louis area Catholic school has been fired after church officials learned of his plans to marry his partner of 20 years in New York, one of six states where same-sex couples can wed.

Brandon Krepel

Al Fischer

Al Fischer confirmed to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he was fired on Feb. 17 from St. Ann Catholic School in north St. Louis County, and in a statement from the church, Pastor Rev. Bill Kempf said that Fisher’s “plan to unite in marriage” was in opposition to Roman Catholic teaching and confirmed that “we relieved this teacher of his duties.”

Fischer’s partner, Charlie Robin, executive director of Washington University’s Edison Theatre, told the Post-Dispatch that the couple’s relationship was in no way a secret at St. Ann and that Fischer was fired after a representative of the St. Louis Archdiocese overheard him talking to co-workers about his wedding plans.

Shortly thereafter, according to Robin, Fischer was told he would be fired March 9, the couple’s 20th anniversary and the day of their planned nuptials. But after Robin posted the news of Fischer’s soon-to-come firing on Facebook on Feb. 16, Fischer was fired the next day, Robin said.

A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Archdiocese said that the Archdiocese “fully supports the action taken at St. Ann Parish School as it is in full compliance with the Christian Witness Statement signed by every educator in the Catholic school system.”

The Christian Witness Statement, which educators sign when applying for Archdiocese work, says all who serve in Catholic education should “demonstrate a public life consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Last month, the music director at a Charlotte, N.C. Catholic church also lost his job after marrying his partner of 23 years in New York. Steav Bates-Congdon was fired from St. Gabriel Catholic Church in south Charlotte in January after returning home from his honeymoon.

A January U.S. Supreme Court ruling allows churches and their schools to hire and fire ministerial employees without government interference.

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Filed under: Missouri

67 more reader comments:

  1. sad shame that we still live in prehistoric thinking

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:34pm
  2. :(

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:34pm
  3. His fault for workin at a Catholic school. Just sayin

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:34pm
  4. Well when there are no more people wanting to be part of the catholic church, then they will be happy..

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:34pm
  5. that is horrible….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:35pm
  6. I really hope that they get a really good lawyer and sue the crap out of the school!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:35pm
  7. I feel sorry for him, who are the people to judge this man? All he wants to do is get married to his partner. The people who are resposible for firing this man will have to answer to god when their time comes.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:35pm
  8. what the hell? some people these days

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:35pm
  9. Shame

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:36pm
  10. And at mass, the priests claim that all are welcome. Clearly that’s bullshit.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:36pm
  11. Close the doors of all Hateful
    Churches!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:36pm
  12. according to my calendar it is 2012 not 1212

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:36pm
  13. Where were all these objections for the Last 20 years..

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:36pm
  14. Shame on the Catholic church! this is the 21st century! .. but then again they allow their priests to molest!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:37pm
  15. @Joey, that’s crap what you said. In a time where having a job is hard, would you suggest he just not work? That’s terrible! He should contact a lawyer and sue them.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:40pm
  16. We all deserve to share in the wonderful sacrament of marriage, regardless of who we love. Where happened to human rights?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:41pm
  17. Wow, that man was fired for planning to marry the love of his life; I’m just wondering why priests get to keep their jobs or return to them after their sinful nature?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:41pm
  18. Firing you is So incredibly wrong on so many levels. My Heart goes out to you. God Bless you and your partner! I hope you get some Justice!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:41pm
  19. I WAS BORN & RAISED AS A CATHOLIC SHAME ON THEM CAUSE THIS IS WHAT I CAN NOT STAND AT ALL ….CATHOLICS R THE FIRST PPL TO JUDGE SUCH HIPPOCRITS…I SHALL SAY 4 SURE…THOUGHT WE WERE NOT SUPPOSE TO JUDGE (CATHLOIC CHURCH ) PLEASE PRACTICE WHAT YALL CATHOLICS PREACH….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:41pm
  20. So tired of all the hate & bigotry! Is this EVER going to end?!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:42pm
  21. GOD LOVES EVERYONE!! WHEN WILL THE CATHOLIC CHURCH GET THAT??

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:42pm
  22. …why does this suprise people?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:43pm
  23. LOVE A GAY WOMAN WHO IS PROUD TO SAY I DO NOT ATTEND A CATHOLIC CHURCH WITH SUCH HIPPOCRITTICALL PPL ….I GO TO CROSSROADS WERE NO ONE JUDGES JUST XCEPTS ALL GODS PPL…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:43pm
  24. why can’t he put a demand to the so called “catholic” school?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:43pm
  25. They can fuck little boys in the confessional but they won’t allow two men who are consenting adults to marry! Hyprocrites.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:44pm
  26. Sad to see ignorance and fear prevail over understanding and love

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:44pm
  27. That’s awful, so sad.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:47pm
  28. All our love and support!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:48pm
  29. Involuntary is OK, but voluntary is SIN!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:48pm
  30. WHERE THE HELL DOES THESE STUPID ASSES WHO FIRED HIM LIVE?!?! Shoot em in the face! People piss me the FUCK off so much.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:51pm
  31. Dang, thats jacked up

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:53pm
  32. Normally i would be outraged over anyone being fired for wanting to marry who they love BUT this is the Catholic church and based on their teachings it is unholy to marry someone of the same sex. Im NOT saying is ok but those are their believes just like they cannot tell us who to love we cannot tell them what to believe.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:56pm
  33. Ok. I am Catholic and I am also a married lesbian. I do NOT go to church because I am not welcomed. You guys are right, priest always says all is welcome, bullshyt! I would sue there asses as well, cuz ur the same person before they found out you were marrying ur partner. And Congrats to u and ur man! Keep you head up bro!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:56pm
  34. “/ stooopid, but go whr ur accepted, when one door shurs another will open, good luck!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:56pm
  35. They can demand the church and I hope they’ll win it.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:57pm
  36. show the children a commitment and loving fadelity? Gasm horor no, fire the man!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:58pm
  37. Sorry to hear that. It is ashame that people are not looking at the whole person just a stigmatisum! I think after 20 years together it is pretty much clear they love each other. So where is the same and the sin here?? To me the actions of the church are the sinners and the example of HATE! You should not have to hide who you are to work anywhere in this country! Or even live anywhere for that matter! Reality is that we as a community are long over due to gain our rights just as the afro americans were in the 60′s! It is not a chose to be singled out as different! We are raised to believe we can be anything we want to be. Then we grow up to find the biggest obsticle we have is we can not be ourselves or it will cost you your, pride, dignity, and self esteem! Why can’t people just stop living life in fear!! Instead of fearing the unknown get educated! I have a heart that beats, I love and feel just like every other human! So why do I not deserve to have the same rights to be with the person that I love and loves me. Becase my soul mate is a woman an I am too?!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:59pm
  38. That’s so crappy.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:03pm
  39. But they don’t fire priests who molest children? I guess they live a life according to “the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:07pm
  40. Stay classey Misery

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:09pm
  41. I guarantee if he donated a bunch of money to the church this would not habe happened. Enough is enough Catholic church!!!! Mexico is more Catholic than the USA and more liberal!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:10pm
  42. Such a sad state we’re in.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:20pm
  43. Yes…..and they call themselves Christians!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:20pm
  44. ….goddamnit..

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:22pm
  45. thats terrible. Blessings to the couple.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:27pm
  46. It is awful :( Unfortunately, church schools are allowed to discriminate with their teachers on the basis of gender, sexual preference, race, religion, and disability, among other things, because teachers are considered lay ministers to some degree, and non-discrimination laws do not apply to clergy, due to freedom of religion. There was a case recently in which the Supreme Court upheld that right (I forget the name of the case). That said, this is one of the reasons I’d never belong to a faith that would want to discriminate for any of those reasons.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:31pm
  47. This one is coming from a guy raised Roman Catholic: Me. I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ. With that said: F*ck the Catholic Church and its pedophiles and hypocrites and anyone else who tries to sweep their abominable behavior under the rug.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:31pm
  48. The Catholic Church is showing me on almost a DAILY basis why I am not a member !

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:43pm
  49. Against the teachings of the Catholic Church? Then I guess he should go be a pedophile and go molest and rape young and innocent boys. Hypocrites.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:47pm
  50. Crazy

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:50pm
  51. Y r some of u suprised about this? The “church” has always been against LBGT’s. Their opinion and beliefs have never changed b4…y would they change now? This man surely knew the type of people he worked for…or he would of told them of his lifestyle sooner. I’m surehope he does get some compensation for his dismissal, but as my bestie and her soulmate Becky say ” we have the blessing of God over our love…we don’t need the approval of a church”! P.S. we all grew up catholic…needless to say NONE of us are members now.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:59pm
  52. Sad

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:18pm
  53. Guess who’s going to hell? -_-

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:18pm
  54. :-(

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:28pm
  55. And the catholic church wonders why members are leaving the church.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:33pm
  56. As a native of St. Louis, this disappoints me even more than it ordinarily would.

    Those Catholic jokers can all kiss my bisexual, atheist ass!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:52pm
  57. again……..REALLY???………………

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:57pm
  58. some people.. it amazes me how many people can judge a person so wrong without even accepting them or even really knowing them

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:07pm
  59. Sad…:(

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:21pm
  60. Thanks for sharing. Deplorable that we, are still getting fired for being hard working employees, good citizens because of predjudiceand bigotry. LGBT Families Matter.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:32pm
  61. Can we say lawsuit.. Sad it has to be that way but maybe you might be able to publish a book from this. Retire on their money and live happily ever after.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:36pm
  62. It says in the student conduct book. The book all chidren get in the begining of the year. If u make fun of anybody for the following reason race sex gender sexuality religion or politic you can be expelled. Its ok to teach the kids not to do this. But as adults we forget fuck that.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:37pm
  63. So his sexual orientation affected his teaching talent after 20 years??? God when is this dammmmmm world gonna change???

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:43pm
  64. When will people realize that LGBT rights are human rights?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:20pm
  65. So you get fired for committing to a relationship? I just can’t get it.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:47pm
  66. Catholic church, Catholic rules. Everyone saying he should sue obviously didn’t reach the bottom: this is legal for private/religious schools. He signed a contract saying he would live in accordance with the Catholic church, which hates homosexuality. He broke the contract, so SHOCK HORROR GASP he got fired. It sucks, but he kinda brought it on himself.

    Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 5:50am
  67. how disgusting….let the man be happy! why should it matter, we need more good teachers…we cant afford to be picky based on who they marry.

    Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 9:46am