Christine M. Judd was a part of Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts for 12 years, beginning as a chemistry teacher and working her way up to eventually become the dean of students and athletics director. But since Wednesday, she stopped working for the school system, as an indirect result of her sexual orientation.
Although marriage for same-sex couples has been legal in her home state since 2004, Judd married her partner of 12 years just this past August. Judd confirms that during a September 1 meeting, administrators, having learned that she got married, gave her two options: Resign or be terminated.
Cathedral High School is affiliated with and responsive to the Springfield Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church and its doctrine, part of which forbids marriage between same-sex couples. Mark Dupont, a spokesperson for the Diocese, tells The Republican newspaper that employees are expected to follow “the values we believe in and are teaching in these same schools … We must be true to who we are.”
This incident is another example in a a growing list similar cases of church affiliated schools rejecting gay families. EDGE Boston notes a story from just a few months ago about a child at another Massachusetts school who was denied admission because his parents were both women.
Judd’s contributions to Cathedral High are extensive, going back to 1998. Her biography on Cathedral’s official website boasts of her involvement in various aspects of the school, and describes her as both a disciplinarian and “one of the key members … who serve as positive role models for the students.” An editorial by Scott Coen of MassLive.com discusses his relationship with Judd and his disappointment in the decision, saying she has consistently placed students’ needs above all else.
GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios says that this decision will negatively impact the students, faculty, and city of Springfield, noting that: “Christine M. Judd is a highly respected and devoted educator with a stellar track record of achievement. She has served her school loyally for the past 12 years, but is no longer welcome, simply because she married her partner, which is legal in Massachusetts. It is deeply hurtful to see the Diocese of Springfield take such a harsh and unnecessary action, much to the detriment of Cathedral High School, which is losing one of its finest.”
Judd’s loyalty to the school continues even though she is no longer a part of it. “I’m hurt, but I wish nothing but the best for Cathedral, its students, the parents, the athletic teams, administration, and faculty. I bleed purple (the school’s color),” she says. She had hoped her devotion and professionalism would prevent her from having to leave, and wonders if employees who violate other aspects of church doctrine--such as by taking birth control or divorcing without annulment--would suffer the same repercussions. Judd is grateful for the support she has received during this difficult time, but says she will not take legal action against the diocese.
GLAAD will continue closely monitoring media coverage of the story to ensure it is presented fairly and accurately.