A Catholic school teacher says the local archdiocese fired her after seeing a photo of her kissing her same-sex partner.
Maggie Barton wanted to share values from her religious upbringing with future generations, so she became a technology and media teacher at the All Souls Catholic School in Englewood, Colorado. For six years, she taught kindergarten through 8th-grade classes. She called the school community her “second family.”
She was fired after someone sent the archdiocese an image of her kissing her same-sex partner. The image was taken from the partner’s social media account, Barton said. While the archdiocese said it won’t fire Catholic school teachers for having same-sex attraction, it apparently will fire them for acting on it.
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“The school found it necessary to conclude the teacher’s employment because she did not honor the commitments she agreed to in her contract with the school,” the archdiocese said in a statement to CBS Colorado.
In Barton’s employee contract, she agreed to “personally exemplify the characteristics of Catholic living” and “[refrain] from taking any public position or conducting … herself in a manner that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church.” Her relationship violated that agreement, the archdiocese said.
Of course, she disagrees.
“I don’t think that being in a same-sex relationship or someone’s sexual orientation hinders your ability to [embody Catholic values],” she said. “It is hard for me to wrap my head around how these issues are still possible and things like this can still happen.”
Federal anti-discrimination laws prevent public schools from firing LGBTQ+ teachers over their sexual orientation and gender identity. But because religious schools are privately owned, they do not have to adhere to those laws.
While she’s grieving the loss of her “dream job,” she said she still feels a lot of support from the school’s community. A crowdfunding campaign has raised over $20,000 for her.
“I was never planning to leave,” she said. “The programs I have put in place and how much growth I have seen in my students, I wanted to stay.”