Did This Gay Catholic School Teacher Deserve To Be Fired Because Of His Sexuality?
Michael Griffin—a teacher who spent the last 12 years of his life teaching French and Italian to students at the Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Pennsylvania—is out of a job right now. Why? Well, he claims that, late last week, he was fired because he recently obtained a marriage license and planned on marrying his longtime significant other sometime in the near future. The problem, at least in Holy Ghost’s eyes, is that Griffin is marrying a man. Several high-ranking school officials knew that Griffin was gay—they’ve actually known for a long time now—but they decided to fire him after Griffin sent an email to a bunch of administrators on Friday to let them know about the marriage license. It seems that, in doing so, the school feels he made his sexuality public and thus cost himself the opportunity to continue teaching at a Catholic school.
“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,” Holy Ghost President Father James McCloskey said in a statement. “In discussion with Mr. Griffin, he acknowledged that he was aware of this provision, yet he said that he intended to go ahead with the ceremony. Regretfully, we informed Griffin that we have no choice but to terminate his contract effective immediately.”
Griffin says that his marriage and his lifestyle should not come as a surprise to anyone, though. He claims that McCloskey and other school administrators knew he was gay and still allowed him to teach. So why then are they firing him now—without any warning—for choosing to get married?
This is an incredibly touchy issue, because it sounds like the school was OK with him saying that he was gay, but they’re not OK with him actually making his relationship official. And while it might make sense for a Catholic institution to shy away from employing a gay teacher because of the belief system that’s in place, it’s unclear whether or not Griffin could pursue legal action against them for firing him because of his sexuality. He may consider doing it, simply because of the way he was let go. But regardless of the outcome here, this issue is going to make supporters of both sides upset.
Where do you stand on this issue? Do you think that the school was justified in firing Griffin? Or do you think that Griffin should be able to keep his job? Let us know in the comments section below.