Carla Hale was fired from Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio because an anonymous parent complained when she named her same-sex partner in her mother’s obituary. She’s now fighting the Catholic school to get her job of 19 years back, and students are rallying around her — as is Anonymous. The school did not previously comment on the firing, but now Bishop Frederick Campbell is defending the firing because Hale’s “quasi-spousal relationship” — not her sexual orientation — violates the Church’s moral teaching:
In an exclusive interview with The Dispatch, the bishop said diocesan officials “don’t necessarily go looking for things like that,” but Hale’s decision to name her partner in her mother’s obituary made the relationship public and initiated the termination process.
As bishop, he said, he has a “fundamental responsibility” to maintain the Catholic identity of the institutions under his purview.
“We do this in an atmosphere of care, of calm consideration, but yet out of the realization that at particular times we have to make particular decisions,” he said. “And they are difficult sometimes, but they do flow from what we believe, who we are and how we are to live.” [...]
“I have to make certain that what I say is accurate and measured because I don’t want to add to the heat of this,” he said yesterday. “People want bold statements right away, and I have to make sure I understand what the question is, how it can be answered and how to do it in a measured way.”
No “measured” approach or “calm consideration” changes the fact that Hale was fired for being gay. Campbell’s claim that she was fired for her relationship is a distinction without a difference. It may take several months for Community Relations Commission to address her complaint, but Columbus’s nondiscrimination protections do not exempt religious organizations. Campbell has admitted that the school fired Hale for living with a woman, and that is a clear violation of the law.