News (USA)

Furloughed gay teacher fired during pandemic after being outed to his employer

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A Catholic high school has is facing criticism from students for firing a gay teacher after someone sent the Archdiocese a copy of his marriage certificate. Ohio schools are closed for the rest of the year in an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio decided not to renew the contract of a popular teacher who has worked at the school for two decades after finding out he’s gay. Principal Lourdes Lambert said that the school had no choice because it’s “an Archdiocese-owned school.”

Related: Lesbian coach sues Catholic school that fired her for having a wife

Referring to the sacking as “a very unfortunate circumstance,” Lambert explained that teachers have to sign a “teacher-minister” contract in which they agree to not engage in any behavior that is “in contradiction to Catholic social doctrine or morals.”

The contract specifically mentions “cohabitation outside marriage, sexual activity out of wedlock, and same-sex sexual activity.”

“Our Catholic schools expect teachers and staff to be witnesses to the teaching of the Catholic Church in both word and deed. Public witness is a critical part of Catholic education,” said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese. “These expectations are clearly articulated in our teacher-minister contracts.”

The Catholic church’s doctrine on LGBTQ people is that homosexuality involves “acts of grave depravity.”

“Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,” according to the Catholic church, with some exceptions like firing gay teachers.

Former student David Beck wrote on Facebook that it was “some misguided soul” who found the teacher’s marriage certificate and sent it to the Archdiocese. Beck said that he had the teacher in question for 11th grade English and that the teacher got married in 2016 shortly after marriage equality was legalized.

“How convenient that he is fired now, during the pandemic, as to sweep it so easily under the rug,” Beck wrote.

“I remember [teacher] as a wonderful, kind teacher with a sense of humor and a creative spirit,” Beck wrote. “He should not be fired for his marriage, which, let us remember, is guaranteed as a human right by the Constitution.”

“I attended catholic school for 13 years (explains a lot, right?), and I can attest that Jesus would not approve of Alter High School or the Archdiocese’s treatment of [teacher]. On the contrary, Jesus embraced everyone and only taught love.”

Ohio does not ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

The teacher has not commented about being fired to the media and has requested that his name not be shared.

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