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Thursday, January 16, 2014

When church doctrine collides with new law

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 7:19 AM

An article from a Seattle newspaper discusses a topic familiar here — the collision of church and employment as same-sex marriage becomes increasingly legal. Those who avail themselves of legal rights sometimes  — but not always — lose jobs with Catholic institutions on account of church opposition to such unions.

The article includes a reference to Tippi McCullough, who was forced to resign from her teaching job of 14 years at Mount St. Mary Academy after she married Barbara Mariani.

How such violations are handled by schools and parishes, where most of the terminations across the country tracked by New Ways [an advocacy group for gay Catholics] have occurred, differs from one employer to another and from diocese to diocese.

The teacher from the Philadelphia suburb, for example, said his sexual orientation was never a secret and that he and his partner used to attend faculty parties together.

In Columbus, Ohio, a teacher was fired after listing her female partner’s name in her mother’s obituary, and in Minnesota, a teacher said she was fired after she indicated on a school evaluation her personal conviction favoring same-sex marriage.

Still, employees and experts say policies are seldom equally enforced — the teacher who uses birth control, the organist cohabiting or the divorced principal who remarried without having the first marriage annulled.

“Imagine if we couldn’t hire sinners,” quipped one local church official, noting that sin can be forgiven

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