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December 09, 2013

Category: Religion & Faith, Pennsylvania

Catholic Philadelphia Area High School Fires Gay Teacher After he Applies for Marriage License

HRC calls on school administration to heed the words of Pope Francis and end unjust discrimination

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is calling on Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, PA to immediately cease discriminatory employment practices targeting their LGBT teachers. Last week, Michael Griffin, a teacher at Holy Ghost Prep, emailed the principal of the school telling him he might be late on Friday because he was applying for a marriage license to marry his partner Vincent Giannetto.  After an in-service day, Griffin was called into the office of School President Father James McCloskey with Principal Jeffrey Danilak, where Father McCloskey told him if he went through with getting married to Giannetto he would be terminated.  Griffin and Giannetto continued with their plans and applied for a marriage license.  Griffin was terminated the same day.  Griffin’s firing is part of a disturbing trend.  Fifteen LGBT teachers have been fired from Catholic schools in the past two years alone.    

“Michael Griffin served his school, and more importantly his students well for 12 years as a French and Spanish teacher, only to be fired for making a commitment to the person he loves,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of the HRC Religion and Faith Program. “Even as Pope Francis is sending a hopeful message to LGBT Catholics around the world, it’s shameful that these discriminatory terminations are happening more and more frequently every day.”

Recent polling found that 86 percent of Christians believed the very tenets of their faith compelled them to support protections for LGBT people under the law—and American Catholics are leading the way in their support for equality.

According to news reports, school administration was aware that Griffin was gay, but never before threatened him with termination until he applied for a marriage license.

Holy Ghost Preparatory School is a Catholic, all-boys high school. Under federal statutory and constitutional provisions, religious institutions are able to make employment decisions based on their faith traditions. That doesn’t mean this kind of discrimination has to happen. HRC calls on Holy Ghost Prep officials to end these unjust practices.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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