Columbus High School Dismisses Gay Teacher

by Charles Joughin

HRC: Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right

Washington – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is calling on Bishop Watterson High School to do the right thing and not discriminate against LGBT teachers in their employment practices. In March, the school fired 19-year veteran teacher, Carla Hale, after an obituary in a local paper for her mother listed her with a same-sex partner.

The city of Columbus includes sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination protections but as a religious school, Bishop Watterson High School is exempt under the law.

“While Bishop Watterson High School may be within its legal rights to dismiss a teacher for being gay, they have a moral duty to treat all people fairly and equally,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of the HRC Religion and Faith Program.  “The majority of Catholics and people of faith believe LGBT people deserve dignity, respect, and equal protections under the law.”

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 59% of lay Catholics support marriage equality.  

Hale’s students are standing behind her, having launched a petition to have her reinstated.  The petition reads:

"Carla Hale, a beloved teacher at Bishop Watterson High School, was fired because of her sexuality. She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The school, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her. Discrimination and injustice is something that we all have a duty to fight in today's society. It's unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control. The school claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale."

“The school should reverse their discriminatory stance for the sake of Carla Hale and the students who love her,” added Groves.

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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