Catholic school teacher fired after applying for same-sex marriage license

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On December 6, a gay teacher was fired from the Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, PA after applying for a same-sex marriage license in nearby New Jersey.

Michael Griffin, a French and Spanish teacher, was an alumnus of the school and had worked there for twelve years. He has been with his partner for the same amount of time.

Griffin and his partner, Vincent Gianetto, had already had a civil ceremony five years ago, and according to Griffin, his sexuality at the school was no secret.

However, after emailing to say he would be late for work because he was applying for a marriage license on December 3, administrators told him that the email had made his relationship public and therefore they were forced to fire him if he went through with the marriage.

Griffin believes he was fired due to the school’s code of conduct, which states, “Although the school welcomes teachers from other denominations and recognizes their rights to religious freedom, as employees of a Catholic institution, all teachers are expected to uphold lifestyles compatible with the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.”

The school president, Rev. James McCloskey, issued a statement on December 8: “Unfortunately, this decision contradicts the terms of his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the church as a condition of their employment. In discussion with Mr. Griffin, he acknowledged that he was aware of this provision in his contract, yet he said that he intended to go ahead with the ceremony. Regretfully, we informed Mr. Griffin that we have no choice but to terminate his contract effective immediately.”

Griffin wrote a Facebook post in reaction to the decision saying, “I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner…I feel hurt, saddened, and betrayed.”

He claims he continues to support the school’s mission despite no longer working there.

429Magazine

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