Casey Stegall had worked for a full year at the Children’s Home of Lubbock, Texas and received only positive feedback for his work with the kids who were staying there. His supervisors at the Christian-run organization knew he was gay, but after he introduced his fiancé to some of the teenagers during a Fourth of July trip to a water park, he was promptly fired. The termination was perfectly legal.
According to Lynn Harms, president of the organization, “There is a set of biblical values that we adhere to live by. When you are implementing life training and so forth — particularly with children — to put a confused message out there is counterproductive.”
Harms believes that because some of the children who end up at the shelter have experienced sexual abuse, having a gay employee can be problematic because “it gets garbled in terms of sexual identity, sexual preferences, fears, concerns [and] retraumatization.” This assumption reflects the myth advanced by advocates of harmful ex-gay therapy that homosexuality is somehow caused by sexual abuse, though no research has ever backed up that claim.
Watch Stegall explain what he experienced:
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In Lubbock, Texas, there is no local, state, or federal law that protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Stegall has been struggling to find a lawyer to even represent his case, even though he knows it might lose in court. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would create LGBT workplace protections at the federal level but is currently stalled in Congress, has an exemption for religious organizations that would still have allowed Children’s Home to fire Stegall just for having a family — a provision for which many LGBT groups have abandoned their support.
The Children’s Home notes on its website that it is “licensed and reimbursed for services rendered by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and meets or exceeds all standards established for out-of-home care of children.”
(HT: Lone Star Q.)