You may have heard by now that a Catholic school in Ohio fired a longtime teacher at the school because she’s lesbian. And the only reason they even found out about it was because she listed her partner in her mother’s obituary. That led a parent to inform the school and demand that she be fired:
When Bishop Watterson High School teacher Carla Hale returned to work last month after her mother’s death, administrators at the Catholic school in Clintonville confronted her with a letter.
An anonymous parent had written to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, appalled that Hale had listed her female partner’s name in an obituary.
Within weeks, Hale said, she was fired because she is in a gay relationship.
She explains how it happened.
HALE: If it were not for an obituary that appeared in the paper, none of this would be happening… She asked me if I really wanted to put her name in there — in the obituary — but as we sat there that day — my mom really loved Julie and Julie loved my my mom and as I sat there with my brother, you know, it was like… his wife was mentioned, my niece’s husband was mentioned, so why not? Why not my person I love?
There’s nothing that can be done about it. As a Catholic School, they have every legal right to fire her. But the really hopeful thing is that students at the school have rallied behind her and are speaking out against the school:
Students began an online petition on Monday that has been gaining about 100 supporters per hour. It was up to 2,800 by noon today.
The petition calls Hale a beloved teacher “who cared for her students and treated each one with respect.”
“The school, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her,” reads the petition, started by Watterson senior Jackson Garrity. “Discrimination and injustice is something that we all have a duty to fight in today’s society. … The school claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale. That is why we all have to stand up together and let it be known that this decision is unacceptable.”…
“My classmates and I feel very passionately about this issue,” Garrity told Outlook by email. “We (the senior class) agreed that we needed to take a stand as leaders and voice our opinions.”
It’s just another example of how out of step the Catholic Church is with its own membership, especially younger people.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: