LUBBOCK, Texas — A Texas man has been fired from his job at the Children’s Home of Lubbock for his “lifestyle choices” after introducing a group of the home’s teenage boys to his fiancé during a day trip earlier this month.
A year after being hired and spending week after week caring for the children living at the home, he was dismissed for circumstances revolving around what Lynn Harms, president of the organization, called Stegall’s lifestyle choices.
“As a faith-based, church-related outreach providing welfare services, if you will, to children and families, there is a set of biblical values that we adhere to and live by,” Harms said. “When you are implementing life training and so forth — particularly with children — to put a confused message out there is counterproductive.”
In Stegall’s eyes, it was discrimination, but in the eyes of the law, it’s legal.
Stegall says he was accused of public displays of affection with another man, and fired without an opportunity to defend himself.
Harms said that modeling a lifestyle not in line with the organization’s interpretation of the Bible is not acceptable, and new employees are briefed on the Children’s Home’s values during orientation.
“If you want to try to force our culture to meet your expectations, that’s not going to go well,” Harms said. “I don’t feel like the culture here has to meet an individual’s desire for the world to be different.”
In this video from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Stegall discusses his ordeal:
Although the Children’s Home of Lubbock is funded in part by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, state law does not currently protect employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Stegall says he has been struggling to find a lawyer to represent his case, even though he knows it’s likely that he would lose in court.