NewsTue Dec 8, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST
Maine Reporter Fired for Personal E-mail Rebutting Criticisms of Traditional Marriage Supporters
By Kathleen Gilbert
WINSLOW, Maine, December 7, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Maine reporter is combating his termination after he says he was fired from his job for issuing a personal email rebutting a homosexualist group's defamation of true marriage advocates.
58-year-old Larry Grard of Winslow, Maine, says that he was fired from his 19-year post at Maine Today Media's Morning Sentinel after local Human Rights Campaign leader Trevor Thomas complained about an email rebuttal Grard sent on his personal email account.
Grard says he was provoked to respond to a press release by Thomas which was issued following the November victory of Question 1 in Maine, a referendum overturning the state legislature's decision to legalize same-sex "marriage." Following the Maine vote, Thomas announced: "We will not allow the lies and hate - the foundation on which our opponents built their campaign - to break our spirits."
"It is infuriating to see that the same fear-mongering ads that were used to pass Prop. 8 a year ago have triumphed again at the expense of so many," said Thomas, who called the traditional marriage campaign "a divisive anti-LGBT campaign to scare voters."
"I'm a Catholic, and I don't hate anybody, and I took offense to [the press release]," Grard told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) Monday.
Fed up with the accusations of "hate" leveled at marriage advocates throughout the campaign, Grard says he wrote an email from his personal email account to Thomas that read: "Who are the hateful, venom-spewing ones? Hint: Not the yes on 1 crowd. You hateful people have been spreading nothing but vitriol since this campaign began. Good riddance!"
However, after Thomas complained to Grard's supervisors, the reporter was told on November 10 that the email was "unprofessional" and "unethical." Grard says he was given no opportunity to apologize or retract his statement before he was fired. "As far as I know, my personnel file was clean," said Grard.
The Winslow man says that the abrupt termination has made it difficult for himself and his wife Lisa, who struggles with diabetes, to make ends meet. He says their daughter, 23, is still pursuing a college education.
"Lisa also wrote a bimonthly cooking column for the paper. A week after they fired me, they sent her an impersonal email telling her that the column, which was really popular, was 'no longer a good fit.' They punished her, too," Grard said. Grard is a practicing Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus.
"They said when they let me go, they said that there's no wiggle room on this issue, which struck me as very strange," said Grard. "I mean, of course there's wiggle room, they didn't have to fire me. But they way they put it, they didn't have any choice."
"I think what they did to me for somebody who had worked for them hard for 19 years was just ruthless, and I would love the Christian community to know about this," he continued. "My wife and I have been struggling."
The Portland Newspaper Guild has filed a grievance with the American Arbitrative Association on Girard's behalf regarding the termination, and is seeking an expedited arbitration.
"We stand firmly behind Mr. Girard," Kathy Munroe, a Portland Newspaper Guild administrative officer, told LSN.
Maine Today editor Bill Thompson did not return LSN's calls as of press time.
To contact Maine Today Media:
Editor Bill Thompson: [email protected]
Morning Sentinel main line: 207-873-3341