Tags: catholic | same sex marriage | lgbt | employment

Catholic Teachers Fired for Being in Same-Sex Marriages Are Not Victims

Catholic Teachers Fired for Being in Same-Sex Marriages Are Not Victims
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By Thursday, 23 August 2018 11:03 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Teacher employed by Catholic school.

Teacher’s contract stipulates gay marriage is cause for termination.

Teacher discovered to be in gay marriage. Teacher gets fired.

Teacher is shocked. Threatens lawsuit.

Uproar ensues.

Welcome to today’s entitlement-driven society, where previously agreed-upon rules go out the window the second they become “inconvenient.”

Teaching is a privilege, not a right. When teachers accept conditions of employment, they are legally bound to follow those rules. Students know that when they break the rules, there are consequences, and it’s no different for teachers. So when one violates the terms of employment, the school has every right to terminate him or her, and there should be no legal standing to sue the school.

But thanks to our entitlement mentality, it’s never that simple.

Just look at the increasing number of cases where a Catholic school teacher is discovered to be gay and subsequently fired, only to have that person turn around and threaten (baseless) legal action.

Earlier this year in Florida, a first-grade teacher married her girlfriend and was promptly fired. Some parents were furious and demanded she be reinstated, with one parent lamenting, "This is really bad…It can’t be that in 2018 they still do this type of thing" — as if rules should no longer apply because we’re in the 21st century. The Church stood firm.

And just last week, Shelly Fitzgerald, a guidance counselor at Roncalli Catholic High School in Indianapolis, was placed on administrative leave after school officials discovered that she was in a same-sex marriage. According to Fitzgerald, her principal laid out three options: resign, dissolve her marriage, or lay low until the end of the year, at which point her contract would not be renewed. Not surprisingly, all options were rejected, protests ensued, and Fitzgerald is reportedly considering a discrimination lawsuit.

It’s worth looking at this issue in greater detail:

1) Many parents and students rallied, creating a social media firestorm. Problem is, no matter how well-intentioned, supporters are incorrect in their thinking. The firing has nothing to do with workplace ability and popularity, nor is it an exercise in bigotry. Instead, it has everything to do with breaching workplace policies.

At its core, this is not about LGBT rights or same-sex marriage. It is about a private entity exercising its legal right to choose employees it believes are best suited for the business. This is especially true in at-will states (which both Florida and Indiana are), where employers have the right to terminate employees for virtually any reason — or no reason at all. Additionally, as religious institutions, Catholic schools are exempt from numerous government regulations concerning “discrimination.”

People can agree with such decisions, or believe them to be unfair, but unquestionably, a Catholic school is within its legal purview to fire teachers.

2) It isn’t anti-gay bigotry to allow a baker the discretion to choose (so that he isn’t forced to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage). And prohibiting NFL players from kneeling during the national anthem has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Instead, both issues are about the right of private entities to make decisions in their best interests. In that vein, we must not let the firing of LGBT teachers devolve into an off-track debate. It is about workplace freedom, plain and simple.

(For the record, this author is Catholic, yet supports gay marriage. Who are we to interfere in how two adults love each other? And who are the heterosexuals to criticize same-sex marriage when they don’t exactly have a stellar track record? Their divorce rate is between 40 and 50 percent, and the number of children born out of wedlock ranges as high as 72 percent. Traditional marriage is falling apart, and heterosexuals should be more concerned with fixing the problems in their own (glass) houses rather than conveniently going off-subject by slamming same-sex marriage.)

Bottom line: if people want to teach in Catholic school, they are obligated to follow its rules.

3) Fuming parents need to pipe down and remember that America is still the land of the free. Translation: if parents don’t like what Catholic schools are doing, fine. They can vote with their feet and leave. And many have. For a host of reasons, many parents have abandoned Catholic education, resulting in a precipitous enrollment decline and numerous school closings. But parents don’t get to change the rules midstream just because they suddenly don’t like them — the same rules, by the way, to which they agreed when enrolling their children.

Likewise, if Fitzgerald didn’t agree with the Church’s position on same-sex marriage, she shouldn’t have taken the job. But she did. In doing so, she should have known that this issue was one that could inevitably rear its head, despite the Church’s unofficial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. And in that case, she should have been prepared to face the music with dignity. Instead, the opposite has occurred. As a result, a wholly unnecessary battle is being waged.

Does everything nowadays have to be a cause celebre by a frenzied, self-absorbed social media crowd, many of whom are bereft of facts? And is it necessary to place every “victim” on a pedestal, elevating them to hero, and even martyr, status?

It grows old.

4) Should it be acceptable for a Catholic school to employ a rabid pro-abortionist as teacher, principal or priest, even if that individual is beloved?

Flip the coin. Should Planned Parenthood be forced to employ a devout Pro-Lifer? Doing so would be bad for “business,” as well as contrary to the organization’s goals. And would it be a good idea to have a vegetarian ideologue employed as spokesperson for a meat company?

The decision to terminate employees in same-sex marraiges is the only one a Catholic school can make to maintain its integrity, unless the Church changes its position on same-sex marriage.


By all accounts, Shelly Fitzgerald did a good job. But the issue isn’t about Fitzgerald. It’s about a Catholic entity adhering to the rules of the Catholic Church.

Should Rome look at changing, or at least updating, its positions on homosexuality, birth control, marriage for priests, and woman priests? Absolutely! Likewise, the Church should be called on the carpet when it employs divorced heterosexuals (especially those who remarry without obtaining an annulment) since those acts are also in violation of Church tenets.

But until then, those who think they’re entitled to change the rules need to say an Act of Contrition and pray they receive the spirit — of common sense.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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Welcome to today’s entitlement-driven society, where previously agreed-upon rules go out the window the second they become “inconvenient.”
catholic, same sex marriage, lgbt, employment
Thursday, 23 August 2018 11:03 AM
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