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Catholic school teacher fired for marrying same-sex partner

On July 12, less than two weeks after he married his long-term partner, a Southern California resident was fired from his job as teacher at a Catholic High School. It is not disputed that the termination is based entirely on sexual orientation discrimination. The beloved teacher had worked at the school for 17 years and his partner was known by much of the staff. Current and former students started a petition and organized a march in protest.

On July 1, the 45-year-old teacher and his 32-year-old partner stood in line to get married at the San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder's Office after the Supreme Court's ruling that California's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The couple was depicted in front page photograph and video of same-sex couples celebrating their nuptials that was published by a local newspaper. The teacher was later notified that his marriage violates the church's teachings and that he was therefore being terminated. He had recently signed a contract renewing his employment.

The school released a public statement in which it declined to comment on the case, but stated that the school is dedicated to upholding traditional Catholic principles. The handbook for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles parish staff states that employees may be terminated for engaging in behavior that is not consistent with the church's moral standards and teachings. The law doesn't protect employees who work for religious institutions from sexual orientation discrimination. A Supreme Court case held that religious employers may hire and fire teachers based on whether their actions comply with the doctrine of that religion.

When a person is terminated unfairly, they may choose to file suit; an attorney may be able to help. An attorney could seek compensation, file paperwork regarding a lawsuit to protest unjust laws or negotiate a fair settlement.

Source: Huffington Post, "Gay Teacher Fired From Catholic School Shortly After Marriage Ceremony (VIDEO)", Kathleen Miles, August 01, 2013

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