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View Diary: Beloved teacher fired after being outed in her mother's obituary (113 comments)

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  •  Not necessarily: (26+ / 0-)
    Hale's attorney is exploring whether to file a complaint with the city.

    "In most parts of the state, it is perfectly legal to fire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation. We're fortunate in Columbus to have a municipal ordinance that was passed in 2008 that does protect people and there are no exceptions in that ordinance for religious institutions," said Hale's attorney, Tom Tootle.

    The Columbus Community Relations Commissions would take up the issue if a complaint is filed.

    •  Right, (9+ / 0-)

      But a local city ordinance doesn't trump 1st Amendment rights - which the Church will undoubtedly argue that they are protected under. Morals clause, etc.

      Look, I tried to be reasonable...

      by campionrules on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:31:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is protected under the First Amendment. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh

        Acording to all nine current Supreme Court Justices.

        Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 565 U.S. _ (2012)

      •  Religious schools & right to hire & fire employees (6+ / 0-)

        Every year, legislation gets introduced here in Maryland to provide additional public aid to non-public schools (most of which are religious and most of those are Catholic-controlled).  Lobbyists representing the Archdiocese of Baltimore are among the prime pushers of such legislation.  When I testify against their bill, I make a point of emphasizing the fact that the First Amendment protects religious schools in the right to discriminate among its employees and, since nothing can be done by public authorities to ensure non-discrimination by such schools, they should get no public funding at all.  If they want to practice bigotry, they have every right to do so.  But we (the public) should not be required to finance them.

        •  I agree with this premise wholeheartedly... (0+ / 0-)

          but do not if the school's not receiving public funding.  Separation of church and state also includes separately the government from the churches' choices as well.  If Carla knew the rules and went outside the churches preferences, I believe they should have the right to let her go.  Keep the church out of the government and the government out of church.

        •  Nor should they get tax-exempt status. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Loosely Twisted, JerryNA

          The opposite of progressive is regressive.

          by ellpeecee on Sun May 10, 2015 at 03:00:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Surely there are limits.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          ....to how far a religious order or organisation can go in their religious practices....in contrast to mere verbal expression of what they believe in. While firing someone doesn't quite rise to the same level of hurtfulness as killing someone for who or what they are, burning sinners at the stake is illegal because it inflicts harm on someone else. And firing someone out of religious conviction is a hurtful act directed against another citizen of the USA; a person who also has rights that are legally protected, and ARE protected in any other circumstance than this - apparently.
          But how? Because let's not kid ourselves. When push come to shove, secular law ....or the Law of the Land or (secular) state always takes precedence over anything the Pope or a local cleric pronounces as "God's law" from the pulpit. And abusing the protected rights of others is not legal, whether it's done under color of religion or whatever. So how can this be?

          •  Well, a Roman Catholic hospital refused to perform (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Grainpaw, 1500honda

            an abortion on my wife without my concent, ectopic pregnancy nearly rupturing the fallopian tube be damned, my being deployed for military training be damned.
            Doctor performed it anyway, ended up being fired for abiding by the best standard of care, rather than letting my wife die.
            After I got released from training due to the family emergency, I had words with the administration. It didn't go very well, the police were called and two responding officers were old Army buddies and were upset with the hospital as well.
            I called up another Army buddy, who prompty fucked up their federal reimbursements for medicaid and medicare until they abided with federal law. As my wife's care was covered by CHAMPUS, they violated federal law.
            After three months of nearing bankruptcy, the hospital joined the 20th century and changed their policy.

    •  Local ordinance still can't trump Fed. (6+ / 0-)

      And the Constitution and Federal law protects religious institutions and private organizations.

      I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

      by second gen on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:35:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This one's a bit fuzzy. It's a religious school (5+ / 0-)

      and thus largely exempt - especially in regards to teachers with non-secular duties.   Is a gym teacher a secular function?   How can it be given that she's not even Catholic?

      •  In a Catholic school (9+ / 0-)

        pretty much all the teaching staff is going to have religious obligations.  They all lead prayers, etc., and virtually all the employment agreements make clear that, even if you are not Catholic, you can't openly (so that your students can find out) violate the fundamental Catholic teachings (whether you believe them or not) -- you can't live with a partner without marriage, have an abortion, etc. If you do those things openly, the thinking goes, that undercuts your position as a role model for your students.

        •  What about teachers who divorce or remarry? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Marti
        •  I just doubt that the "ministerial exception" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Marti, Ahianne

          applies to a gym teacher who wasn't even Catholic, much less ordained.   Here's a discussion of some recent similar cases: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/...

          •  Read Hosana Tabor Supreme Court case (4+ / 0-)

            Again, the pdf is here.  It was a unanimous decision.  It expressly says that you don't have to be ordained or anything like that.  It expressly says, "we aren't setting forth a specific test for when it applies," but the factors include that the school holds the employee out as having a religious in addition to a secular function, and that the employee agrees up front that he/she is performing a religious function IN ADDITION TO the secular teaching functions.  

            •  Actually that's the case I linked to and it (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Eyesbright, The Marti, DSPS owl

              doesn't qualify who is or isn't a "ministerial employee", but merely sets that as the threshold.

              Note how a similar case was ruled using Hosana-Tabor as the precedent:

              U.S. District Judge Arthur Spiegel said in his March 29 ruling that the ministerial exception did not apply because Dias was a non-Catholic computer teacher with no role in ministering or teaching Catholic doctrine.
              So is a gym teacher somehow a "ministerial employee" but a computer teacher isn't?
              •  It depends what is in their employment (4+ / 0-)

                agreement, I would think.  That's going to spell out what role, if any, that teacher is to have in religious instruction, or as a religious role model.  If the contract says you will teach computer science or P.E., and we also expect your to lead school prayers where appropriate, and we also expect you to be a role model for your students, and you agree that in that capacity you will not violate the archdiocese moral code, then you could fall within the ministerial exception.  If you employment agreement says just you will teach computer science or P.E., and does not spell out any of those other expectations, you probably would not fall within the ministerial exception.  

                So, a computer teacher or a gym teacher can, or cannot, be within the ministerial exception, depending on what they signed on to. and agreed to, when they took the job.

        •  I guess if you commit immoral, illegal acts (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silvia Nightshade

          privately, as a priest, then that's OK.

        •  So=-=-teach them to LIE (0+ / 0-)

          So==teaching them--the students--to LIE and accept being lied TO is--OK?

          Then again the entire Catholic religion--and I had Catholic PARENTS!!!----is a complete and utter lie to me.  

          What happened to that whole "Catholic school taught me how to THINK"  dealie???

    •  It's probably the religious school's right. (4+ / 0-)

      Read the Supreme Court's Hosana-Tabor case (pdf here).
      If the Catholic school makes clear that part of the job description of a teacher is modeling and imparting Catholic teaching, then yes, the First Amendment trumps federal anti-discrimination laws (like the ADA in that case) or local ordinances like that one.  It's called the "ministerial exception."  

      As long as a Catholic school makes clear that the job description includes modeling and imparting Catholic teaching, then yes they can fire a teacher who lives with a heterosexual partner without marriage, who is in an open same-sex relationship, who has an abortion, who gets pregnant outside of marriage, etc.

      I live in New Orleans -- a city with a very pervasive Catholic school system.  The teachers in that system understand that is part of the job description.  I had a "middle-aged" friend who kept "secret" the fact that she lived with her then-boyfriend before they married for that very reason.  

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