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Gay Catholic High School Teacher Fired After Partner's Name Appears in Mother's Obituary: VIDEO


Disgusting actions from Bishop Watterson, a Catholic High School in Clintonville, Ohio, have students and other supporters rallying around Carla Hale, a physical education teacher who was fired by the school after an anonymous parent informed them that her partner's name had appeared in her mother's obituary.

WattersonWatch Hale tell her story, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

According to a contract between the Columbus diocese and the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators, teachers can be terminated for “immorality” or “serious unethical conduct.” George Jones, a spokesman for the diocese, had no comment yesterday, saying personnel matters are confidential.

Hale, a physical-education teacher who taught at Watterson for 19 years, said she has filed a grievance under the terms of the contract, seeking her job back. Her attorney, Thomas Tootle, said they are exploring other legal options.

Hale, a practicing Methodist, said she also hopes the reaction to her dismissal spurs Catholic leaders to reconsider their stance on gay relationships.

Hale did not discuss her sexual orientation or her partner with students or teachers. A petitionto reinstate her now has more than 10,000 signatures.

The Dispatch adds that Hale's firing may violate city law:

The firing of a gay physical-education teacher from a Columbus Catholic high school would be a violation of a city ordinance if a complaint were filed and investigators determined the dismissal was based on her sexual orientation...A Columbus city ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation. City law also 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.

Students have left testimonies in support of Hale.

Wrote Amanda Lux:

When I was a student at Bishop Watterson, we were always taught to treat others with dignity and compassion. As an alumni, I still credit Bishop Watterson with shaping me into the person I am today -- both morally and ethically. I am deeply saddened to learn that, in spite of what Watterson taught me about respect for all humanity, a longstanding and well-respected faculty member was treated so unfairly. Ms. Hale has always been an excellent coach and teacher. Her sexual orientation and lifestyle choices have no bearing on her capacity to educate her students and should NOT be grounds for termination of employment.

Wrote Lauren Bogenrief:

Bishop Watterson demands that we all treat each other with equality and respect. I hope they see that their students are standing up for the morally right thing, not to just rebel against the school. Carla Hale is a child of God and equal in his eyes to all of us. Bishop Watterson needs to recognize that.

Watch Hale tell her story, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. All those cat'lick students being taught their religion is nothing but hate. Way to go, Bishop Dumbass!

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Apr 18, 2013 9:01:48 AM

  2. This is in Columbus, OH. Clintonville is a neighborhood in northern part of the city.

    Posted by: Gus | Apr 18, 2013 9:19:40 AM

  3. Another great moment in religious liberty in America! Hurray!

    Posted by: Clarknt67 | Apr 18, 2013 9:22:33 AM

  4. This area is so populated with lesbians that we affectionately call it Clittyville. It is a nice neighborhood of arts-and-crafts bungalows and duplexes set on a hillside cut by a series of amazing glacial grooves. Lots of college students, families, antique stores, the hippy co-op. It is very diverse and welcoming. I would move back there in a heartbeat. And with it being an incorporated part of Columbus, the city's very broad anti-discrimination policy can be invoked. I glad to see the students sticking up for her. This injustice is not indicative of Columbus but of the idiotic church.

    Posted by: Bollux | Apr 18, 2013 9:26:21 AM

  5. Amazing how when a public business gets told it can't
    Discriminate they all go crazy, but have zero problem firing a qualified employee. Aaah, the Catholic Church, eating your alter boy and having him too.....

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Apr 18, 2013 9:58:17 AM

  6. May God damn these Papist lackeys for their non-Christian love.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Apr 18, 2013 10:20:54 AM

  7. Catholicism in the USA has such a dichotomy. The church itself and it's agenda is anti-gay, but actual Catholic people are the opposite and tend to be liberal.

    This is an awful story. Hopefully Ms. Hale wins her case if she decides to sue but it would be best if things didn't have to come to that.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 18, 2013 10:33:01 AM

  8. So... any parents withdrawing their kids and impacting tuition revenue?

    It may be a Katholic school, but the funding is not likely coming from the Archdiocese.

    It's the only thing they'll understand.

    Aren't you SOooo tired of hearing participants in this faith justify their membership by saying the hate comes from the hierarchy; locally we love the gays???

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | Apr 18, 2013 10:48:26 AM

  9. It was wrong to fire her, but is entirely consistent with the policy of Catholic insitutions. Having found out she was a lesbian, those in charge had little choice but to fire her unless they wanted to confront the church hierarchy over its policies.

    So if you are gay and choose to work for a Catholic organization, you should be aware that you are taking a risk by so doing and not be surprised when something like this happens.

    Moral of the story--don't work for an institution with an official policy of homophobia

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 18, 2013 10:57:34 AM

  10. I thought it was immoral to butt your nose into someone else private affairs. Shouldn't the person who fired her be fired himself?

    Posted by: Garst | Apr 18, 2013 11:42:14 AM

  11. This is just terrible. How could someone be fired after 19 years of faithful service over an obituary?? However, at Rick said, the school probably "had" to fire her because higher-ups in the Catholic hierarchy would have fired her later on anyway...this is very sad.

    Posted by: | Apr 18, 2013 11:45:28 AM

  12. Even though I find it horrible that she was fired for her sexual orientation, I am more shocked that she could work somewhere for 19 years and never mention her partner or relationship. How stressful!
    I would start looking for a better work environment.

    Posted by: mikep | Apr 18, 2013 11:51:55 AM

  13. Not to be harsh- but a single, rather butch, female gym teacher beign gay is really that shocking???? Something tells me these folks don't score highly in reading comprehension.

    And to the real issue- when Catholic priests sexually torment young boys they goet moved parish to parish for years on end. But a middle aged employee in a non- religious post gets fired for having a consenting partner??? Keep it classy Catholic Church.

    Posted by: robroy | Apr 18, 2013 12:15:13 PM

  14. Hey gay folk! Stop working for the Catholic Cult! Don't support these evildoers with your work. And then they can't fire you.

    Posted by: lewlew | Apr 18, 2013 2:03:22 PM

  15. Hale is a "practicing Methodist". WOW! Look at how liberal the Catholic Church has become. They allow a "heretic" to teach in their school. Just a few centuries ago they would have burned her at the stake. Hang on LGBT folks. By 2313 you will be allowed in also. LOL

    Posted by: andrew | Apr 18, 2013 3:06:15 PM

  16. I like the "jail" part of the maximum penalty and hope it is invoked.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 18, 2013 3:40:22 PM

  17. "Wrote Amanda Lux: '... As an alumni, I ...'"

    As much as I appreciate her support for her former teacher, how ironic that she didn't learn proper Latin at Bishop Watterson High.

    Posted by: JBL55 | Apr 18, 2013 4:15:11 PM

  18. I don't get these Catholics. If it's wrong to hire people who are gay, isn't it also wrong to hire people who are divorced? I mean they're both immoral in the eyes of god, right?

    oh wait, because they will actually get sued. So what is this whining about oppressing religious freedom? God forbid the state forbids you to discriminate based on your baseless principles.

    so.who.wins in the end? The one who fights for the right to discriminate or the one who fights for the rights to not get discriminated with?

    Posted by: rallyx | Apr 18, 2013 8:19:05 PM

  19. I'm more than willing to let Catholic and other religious schools not hire personnel that does not live up to their religious beliefs. However that also means the school and church should NOT receive benefits of MY tax dollars, since they are NOT living up to modern America's ethics. No tax free existence, certainly no vouchers of any type. If you live on the public dole, then live up to the public's rules, not your own.

    Posted by: Bob Kegeles | Apr 18, 2013 10:16:55 PM

  20. So someone tips off the church from her mom's obit. Woman is grieving for her mom, then booted to the curb by the church. How very Christian.

    Posted by: kodiak | Apr 19, 2013 3:50:19 AM

  21. It's like the 1950s never left...

    Posted by: MikeB | Apr 19, 2013 5:11:44 AM

  22. im confused. who's mother?
    and why?

    in any case, it is just plain wrong.

    Posted by: steven | Apr 19, 2013 1:27:00 PM

  23. This won't make me popular on Towleroad, but it needs to be said. Orthodox Christianity (Catholic, Evangelical, Eastern Orthodox) as well as other religions ,looks upon homosexual behavior as sinful. In this context "hate the sin, love and try to reform the sinner" is about as "pro-gay" as one can get. We may not like this, but it's a reality. Religious schools shouldn't be hounded to follow secular society's policies. As was said in the Hebrew National frankfurter commercial years ago - they answer to a higher authority.

    About all the LGBT community can hope for with traditional religion is a peaceful coexistence. I feel for this woman's situation, but then no one ever said freedom came without consequences. The public eventually tires of all social movements and when the current fervor for gay rights subsides we don't want to be left with people who view gays as part of the establishment and relgiious people as victims. Full equality for gays is still a recent cause and could easily suffer a serious setback if people are asked to choose between religion and equal rights for a group that many of them are still not very familiar with or especially fond of. And churches and religious schools in other countries are already being forced to accept openly gay people and peform gay weddings. Why lend credence to the charge that there is a necessary conflict between religion and gay rights?

    Posted by: Mary | Apr 19, 2013 9:24:46 PM

  24. Mary, what churches in what countries are being "forced to accept openly gay people and perform gay weddings"?

    Oh, and do you think there are any teachers there that were divorced and remarried - maybe more than once? That would be easy to check and probably generally known. That had sex outside of marriage or sex with someone they weren't married to? Those are all mortal sins in the eyes of the Church, you know. Using "artificial" means of birth control is a sin (not sure what level) and having an abortion is definitely a mortal sin. I assume no teachers there have ever done any of those things.

    If the school had a No Mortal Sins clause probably 75% of the teachers would be out, and if you counted masterbation, 100%.

    Posted by: emjayay | Apr 20, 2013 2:12:53 AM

  25. Institution is exempt from constitutional analysis if it is a private catholic school. who gives a sh*t she was fired for working for delusional religious organization that believes in cannibalism (transubstantiation/catholocism/cannibalism, all the same thing). This is a non-story. The private catholic school is not a public accommodation. why waste time and energy on such stories? If a queer person wants to work for a catholic org., that is their lot. Might as well be a black Klansman or a Jewish Nazi. Silly woman.

    Posted by: wren | Apr 20, 2013 9:04:36 PM

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