July 2, 2015 (CardinalNewmanSociety) — A Catholic school in Macon, Ga., is facing a federal discrimination lawsuit from a former teacher whose employment was terminated in 2014 after the school found that he would be legally marrying his same-sex partner.
“The argument being made in this suit—that a Catholic school’s commitment to upholding Catholic teaching on marriage is discriminatory toward homosexual employees—is a grave threat to Catholic education,” said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.
“A Catholic school exists for the very purpose of teaching the faith and forming young people for God,” he continued. “The implication is that our religion itself, rooted in love and true concern for the good of the person and the common good, is discriminatory because it upholds standards of morality and natural law.”
The teacher, Flint Dollar, taught music at Mount de Sales Academy for three years before his termination on May 21, 2014. The Telegraph reported that Dollar informed the school of his upcoming same-sex marriage when he signed the contract for the 2014-2015 term on May 1, 2014.
According to Breitbart, Dollar argued that “he was fired because of his marriage plans and [because] he didn’t comport with the school’s ‘traditional gender stereotypes.’” An investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reportedly determined “that ‘there is reasonable cause to conclude’ that Dollar had been discriminated against based on his sexual orientation.”
“The suit seeks a jury trial, saying that the school acted with malice or reckless indifference to Dollar’s federally protected rights. Dollar seeks back pay, reinstatement to his job, compensation for his emotional pain and suffering, and attorney’s fees,” reports Breitbart.
The suit asserts that Dollar “complied with the school’s Professional Excellence Standards during his employment at Mount de Sales,” according to the Telegraph. “The school’s faculty handbook doesn’t require teachers to be members of the Catholic [C]hurch, and it doesn’t require any faculty members to adhere to the [C]hurch’s teachings on marriage.”
Mount de Sales Academy reportedly “released a letter last year saying that Dollar wasn’t fired because he’s gay, but because same-sex marriage goes against Catholic doctrine.”
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Last year, 13WMAZ reported on the controversy caused by Dollar’s termination. President David Held invited “protesting students and parents gathered outside to come into the school to talk. He explained his reasons for not allowing Dollar to return to the school, saying Mount de Sales’ staff and faculty must follow the [C]hurch’s teachings.”
Father Allan McDonald, a pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Macon, Ga., reportedly told 13WMAZ that “Held’s decision is justified by Catholic teachings that oppose same-sex marriage.” Dollar’s same-sex marriage “is a public contract recognized by the state but something that is opposed to the Catholic faith,” said Fr. McDonald.
A diocesan statement released by the Diocese of Savannah “supports the decision of the Board of Trustees at Mount de Sales Academy in Macon not to employ Mr. Flint Dollar for the 2014-2015 school term.” The Cardinal Newman Society reached out to the Diocese of Savannah for further comment, but no response was received by time of publication.
School officials at Mount de Sales Academy were also contacted by the Newman Society, but did not respond to inquiries.
Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society.