Bishop Watterson Principal: Teacher Not Fired for Being Gay
Updated: Wednesday, April 24 2013, 08:08 PM EDT
COLUMBUS -- A central Ohio principal says school officials were
justified in firing a gay teacher who listed her partner as her spouse
in an obituary.
Former Bishop Watterson High School phys-ed
teacher Carla Hale met with Principal Marian Hutson on Wednesday to
discuss her recent firing. The meeting was the first step in the
grievance process her lawyer filed against the school.
fired from Bishop Watterson a week after the public posting of her
mother's obituary, which listed Hale's female partner as her spouse.
a written response to the grievance, Hutson wrote, "Documents support
termination. You were not terminated for being gay, but for the spousal
relationship publicized in the newspaper which is against church
Hale was fired a week after the obituary was brought
to the attention of the Diocese of Columbus. In the termination letter,
Hale is told, "Your written spousal relationship violates the moral laws
of the Catholic Church."
The Diocese was alerted to the obituary via an anonymous letter that expressed outrage over Hale's employment.
was shocked by what I saw," the letter read. "It had her teacher's name
and that of her 'spouse' listed. It was two females. "How can the
Diocese of Columbus allow this?"
In response to the Hale's
firing, the former teacher's supporters created an online petition,
calling for her reinstatement. As of mid-April, the petition had
garnered more than 7000 signatures.
Hale said she is overwhelmed
by the support of Bishop Watterson students, alumni, and friends, along
with people she's never met. She said she's received several calls,
letters, and emails from those supporting her effort to return to her
The mother of three is also receiving strong support
from her children, two of whom have followed her into the teaching
Contrary to the opinions of some community members,
Hale insists she never intentionally hid her sexual orientation from the
public, but admits she does prefer to keep the details of her personal
Despite her firing, Hale said she hopes to return
to Bishop Watterson to resume her career, though she said she does not
believe the grievance process will result in her reinstatement.
Hale's layer, Thomas Tootle, said he may file a lawsuit if his client is not allowed to return to her job.
battle against the school she loves is garnering national attention,
which comes as a surprise to the former teacher. She said she hopes the
love and support she's receiving will serve as an inspiration to young
people who are questioning their sexuality for the first time.
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus sent the following statement to ABC 6/FOX 28 regarding Hale's firing:
matters remain confidential by policy of the Diocese of Columbus, and
thus cannot be discussed in specific terms by diocesan staff, even cases
that are working their way through grievance procedures and/or have
gained significant publicity.
"However, what can be said in
general terms is that all Catholic school personnel at the outset of
their employment agree that they will abide by the rules, regulations,
and policies of the Catholic Diocese, including respecting the moral
values advanced by the teachings of Christ.
Church respects the fundamental dignity of all persons, but also must
insist that those in its employ respect the tenets of the Church.
Personnel who choose to publicly espouse relationships or principles
that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot,
ultimately, remain in the employ of the Church."
Reporter: Carol Luper
Web Producer: Ken Hines