When Carla Hale was fired from Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus Ohio because she’s gay after working there for 19 years, students were quick to rally to her cause. A Change.org petition calling on the Catholic high school to reinstate her already has over 11,000 signatures. And now, Hale has come forward to tell her own story. When her mother died in March, she included her partner’s name in her obituary, and apparently an anonymous parent thought that was sufficient reason to complain to the Diocese of Columbus. Hale told the Colmbus Dispatch that the school then fired her a week later:
HALE: If it were not for an obituary that appeared in the paper, none of this would be happening… She asked me if I really wanted to put her name in there — in the obituary — but as we sat there that day — my mom really loved Julie and Julie loved my my mom and as I sat there with my brother, you know, it was like… his wife was mentioned, my niece’s husband was mentioned, so why not? Why not my person I love?
This is hardly the first time the Catholic Church has punished employees simply for being gay. Last year, a music teacher in Missouri and a music director in North Carolina were fired for planning weddings with their same-sex partners. Many more such incidents likely go unreported. The Church refused to comment because it is a personnel matter.
The city of Columbus has nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation with no exemptions for religious organizations, and the Columbus Dispatch argues that she would have a viable case if she filed a complaint.