November 24, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
40°F

Gay Catholic teacher in Columbus fights firing

A gay teacher who said she was fired by an Ohio Roman Catholic school after her mother’s published obituary included the name of her partner is fighting to get her job back.

Carla Hale, 57, said she was told she was being let go because her relationship is against teachings of the church.

She plans to file a complaint this week with the city of Columbus, which prohibits firings based on sexual orientation, her attorney said Monday. She already filed a grievance that is now in the hands of a union representing teachers in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Some current and former students have rallied behind the physical education teacher, staging a protest outside the diocese headquarters and starting an online petition that has collected about 100,000 supporters.

Hale said she was fired during Holy Week in March after an anonymous letter sent to school administrators drew attention to the obituary published in The Columbus Dispatch.
A copy of the letter provided by her attorney was signed “a concerned parent.”

“My daughter came home and told me that one of the gym teacher’s mother had died,” the letter said. “She asked me to pray for her. When we looked in the obituaries, I was shocked by what I saw. It had her teacher’s name and that of her ‘spouse’ listed. It was two females!”

Hale, who is Methodist, was informed about two weeks after her mother’s death that the school was investigating, but she never had a chance to discuss it with school leaders, said attorney Thomas Tootle.

Hale spent 19 years teaching at Bishop Watterson High School.