A Catholic high school in Columbus, Ohio, is being targeted for possible legal action because school officials fired a veteran teacher at the school after they discovered that she is a lesbian. Carla Hale, who taught for 19 years at Bishop Watterson High School, told the Columbus Dispatch that she was terminated in March after a parent noticed an obituary for Hale’s mother that included the name of Hale’s lesbian partner. The parent complained to the school, resulting in Hale being fired from her job as a teacher and coach.
A letter to Hale from school officials recounted the policy of the diocese, which reads: “In keeping with the moral values advanced by the teachings of Christ, the tenets of the Catholic Church, and the policies and regulations of the diocese and school, Catholic school personnel are expected to be examples of moral behavior and professionalism.” The letter then informed Hale: “Your written spousal relationship violates the moral laws of the Catholic Church.... As a result, your contract with Bishop Watterson High School is terminated effective Thursday March 28, 2013.”
The Dispatch noted that “a contract between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus and the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators says teachers can be terminated for immorality or serious unethical conduct,” including homosexuality, which the Catholic Church has always considered sinful. But a Columbus city ordinance “makes it a misdemeanor for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation,” explained the paper, and an additional city law “states that an employer cannot have a policy that discriminates based on sexual orientation. Those who are found guilty could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.”
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