COLUMBUS, May 14, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – The Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators (COACE) is backing the diocese in its decision to fire a homosexual teacher, according to a letter sent to the teacher.
Gym instructor Carla Hale, 57, was fired from her job at Bishop Watterson Catholic High School last month after an anonymous parent wrote to the Diocese of Columbus to complain that in an obituary for Hale’s mother, Hale was listed as a surviving family member together with her longtime lesbian partner, Julie.
Hale signed a morality clause as part of her contract, affirming that “Catholic school personnel are expected to be examples of moral behavior and professionalism,” and acknowledging her employment could be terminated for “immorality” or “serious unethical conduct.” Because the Roman Catholic Church holds homosexual behavior to be gravely immoral, the Diocese of Columbus fired her.
Hale filed a grievance with the COACE seeking reinstatement. But the COACE declined to advance her grievance, having found that there was a legitimate violation of contract involved, making her termination justified.
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“These dedicated members of the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators spent many agonizing hours reviewing the facts of the Carla Hale case,” COACE President Kathleen Mahoney told The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday. “It was their decision that the agreement had been violated and that there was not a case to bring to arbitration.”
Diocesan officials welcomed the decision in a statement, saying the union’s decision “acknowledges and affirms that all those who teach within the Catholic school system agree to abide by the rules, regulations and policies of the Diocese, including respecting the moral values advanced by the teachings of Christ and the tenets of the Catholic Church.”
Hale is still pursuing legal redress through the City of Columbus, which has an ordinance barring employers from discriminating based on sexual preference. The law makes no exception for religious organizations or other employers who object to homosexuality on religious grounds. A guilty verdict carries penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Columbus Community Relations Commission is evaluating Hale’s claim and will decide whether to pass it on to the city attorney’s office for prosecution.