BENSALEM, Pa. — A Catholic high school teacher in Pennsylvania said he was fired on Friday, just hours after applying for a marriage license to wed his same-sex partner.
Michael Griffin, who has taught French and Spanish at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pa., for the past 12 years, said it was no secret among school officials that he is gay, and that it only became an issue once he planned to marry.
Griffin told WPVI-TV that he emailed the principal of Holy Ghost Prep earlier in the week saying he may be late Friday, that he was applying for a marriage license.
Later in the day, he said he was called into the office of School President Father James McCloskey, along with Principal Jeffrey Danilak.
Griffin explains: “He said, ‘It’s not really a secret here that you’re gay.’ I said, ‘Correct.’ He said, ‘I assume this is a same sex marriage.’ ‘Yes.’ He said if I go through with it, he had no choice but to terminate my position.”
Griffin said that his 12-year relationship with Vincent Giannetto wasn’t a secret from the school, that they had attended many school functions together, and that he and Giannetto had even been to McCloskey’s house.
“I can’t believe it’s over like that,” he said.
The couple applied for the marriage license in neighboring New Jersey where they reside, and where same-sex marriage was legalized on Oct. 20, following a state court ruling.
Article continues below“We applied this morning and on the same day he’s fired from his job. So it kind of flipped things upside down for us,” said Giannetto.
Griffin believes a particular section of the teachers code of conduct led to his firing. It reads:
“The School welcomes teachers from other denominations and recognizes their rights to religious freedom, as employees of a Catholic institution, all teachers are expected to uphold lifestyles compatible with the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.”
Holy Ghost is a private all boys liberal arts Catholic high school, but it is not part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.