Woman says Springfield Catholic school withdrew job offer over orientation

A non-binary student taking notes in class.(Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection)

SPRINGFIELD — On Monday, a woman said that Sacred Heart-Griffin High School a job contract was revoked when the school found out she was a lesbian.

The State Journal-Register of Springfield reported that Lauren White had posted about the revocation on her Facebook page on Monday. The school told the newspaper they were bound by the Roman Catholic Church directives about marriage equality and that’s why the job offer was revoked.

In a statement to the Journal-Register, Sacred Heart-Griffin President Sister Katherine O’Connor said that the school’s employee contract states that “conduct that is inconsistent with the norms and dictates of the Roman Catholic Church is grounds for dismissal.” The Springfield Diocese sent the newspaper the staff contract, which says “with respect to religion and sexual orientation, as permitted by law, we reserve the right to exercise discretion in employment decisions to employ persons who share and are committed to the values and mission of the Catholic Church.”

The school became aware of White’s orientation when she said her fiancee was a woman.

The newspaper reported that government couldn’t interfere with religious institutions’ hiring and firing decisions regarding employees after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC in 2012.

“I understand what they did was entirely legal,” White told the Journal-Register. “I don’t dispute it and I understand where they are coming from. I don’t 100 percent agree it should be a protected thing.”

The Phoenix Center, the state capital’s LGBTQ community center, released this statement on their Facebook page:

A similar situation in Indianapolis has that archidiocese claiming First Amendment rights against a gay teacher who was fired for being in a same-sex marriage.



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