News (USA)

Wedding announcement costs lesbian educator her job at Catholic university

Wedding announcement costs lesbian educator her job at Catholic university

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Laine Tadlock, director of the education program at Benedictine University in Springfield, Ill., has lost her job — not because she is gay, and not because she recently married her partner, but because her wedding announcement was posted in the local newspaper.

Laine Tadlock (right) and Kae Helstrom

According to Tadlock, the University knew she was a lesbian when they hired her five years ago, and that she and her spouse, Kae Helstrom, went to Iowa this summer to be married. Apparently the only thing the University took issue with was that Tadlock had the audacity to publicize her marriage, reports the State Journal-Register.

The wedding announcement, which included Tadlock’s position at Benedictine, a Catholic-sponsored university, appeared in the newspaper July 11.

In a Sept. 30 letter to Tadlock’s attorney, Benedictine President William Carroll wrote, “… By publicizing the marriage ceremony in which she participated in Iowa she has significantly disregarded and flouted core religious beliefs which, as a Catholic institution, it is our mission to uphold.”

According to documents Tadlock furnished to the newspaper, the university offered her an early retirement deal that included a confidentiality clause prohibiting Tadlock from talking publicly about what had happened, as well as a waiver prohibiting her from filing a lawsuit against Benedictine.

Tadlock said she made a counter-offer, but were told there would be no negotiations, so she refused the university’s early retirement offer.

After Tadlock turned down the deal, the university put her on administrative leave as of Oct. 1, only to offer her a “a newly created position” a week later, with the stipulation that if she didn’t accept the new position, the university would consider that her resignation.

Tadlock turned the position down, to which her attorney received this email: “… the university accepts your client’s resignation from employment.”

Though it seems to have cost her her job, Tadlock said she has no regrets about putting her wedding announcement in the newspaper, and is now exploring her options for legal recourse.

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