An openly gay teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School, a Catholic school in Glendora, California, was fired just days after he married his partner of ten years. The termination occurred when photos of the wedding were published in a local newspaper last month.
The 45-year-old teacher, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, and his 32-year-old partner were among the first couples married at the San Bernardino County assessor-recorder’s office after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June of this year that allowed gay couples to once again legally marry in California. Photos of the ceremony were published in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
According to the teacher’s attorney, school administrators had known that his client was gay for the majority of his 17 years at the school, and that he had introduced his partner to them at various school functions over the years. However, when they fired him, they mentioned the wedding and attendant publicity.
The school, through its attorney, stated that although they do not engage in discrimination against teachers and other employees based on their private behavior, they do not allow public displays of behavior that are not consistent with their values. The school noted that this is spelled out in its employee contracts.
A 2008 graduate of the school who says that the teacher’s sexual orientation was common knowledge among students and teachers at the school has started an online petition to have him reinstated. The petition has received thousands of signatures.
The attorney for the popular and well-respected teacher says that he hopes to resolve the matter without litigation, but has not ruled it out. Although workplace discrimination based upon sexual orientation is illegal in California, the fact that this is a Catholic school complicates the issue. Nonetheless, anyone who has been discriminated against for being a member of any protected class should seek legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected.
The Los Angeles Times, “Gay teacher at Glendora Catholic school fired after marrying partner” Stephen Ceasar, Aug. 02, 2013