On Tuesday, former Catholic school teacher, Carla Hale, who was fired from Bishop Watterson High School after being outed filed a complaint with the city of Columbus. In the complaint, she said her dismissal goes against the city's anti-discrimination ordinance. After the death of her mother earlier this year, Carla listed her partner, Julie, as her spouse. An anonymous letter was sent to the school and Carla was let go from the job she'd had for 19 years shortly thereafter. The school claims that she was let go not because her partner was a woman but because of her "quasi-spousal relationship." However, Hale's attorney has said that there is really no distinction between her relationship and her sexual orientation.
It could take at least four months for the Community Relations Commission, which will review Carla's complaint, to decide if the complaint should be moved on to the prosecutor's office. According to the executive director of the Commission, the city has no exemption for religious organizations.
Hale has also filed a grievance through the local Catholic teachers union.
Students rallied in support of their gym teacher. A senior at the school started a petition asking for Carla to be reinstated at the school. Carla's supporters have also started a #halestormohio advocacy group and have posted videos in support of her on youtube. In addition, a member of the board of Bishop Watterson High School has recommended that the school take steps to becoming a safe harbor for gay students. She has asked that school create a gay and lesbian support group, have books in library about being gay and Catholic, create a safe space in the school and hold retreats and masses for lesbian and gay students and their friends and families. A number of donors have also said they will not donate to the Bishops Annual Appeal, which funds the Diocese of Columbus' programs, until Carla is reinstated.