Carla Hale, the Catholic school teacher who was fired for being gay, has stated that he intends to fight to keep her job. Carla was a physical education teacher at Bishop Watterson High School for 19 years. After her mother died, the obituary in the local paper listed Carla and her partner as survivors.
An anonymous letter was sent to the school to complain that a lesbian was teaching at Bishop Watterson High School. It cited the obituary as evidence. The school informed Carla that she was not fired because she was gay, but because her relationship was printed in the local paper. The obituary amounted to a "public statement" of her relationship.
Students, alumni, and families have all rallied around Carla Hale. Students have already started a Change.org petition, which has over 50,000 signatures.
In addition, Carla is announcing that she will file a complaint. The state of Ohio has no protections for employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, Columbus, where Bishop Watterson is located, has a municipal ordinance that protects on the basis of sexual orientation. There are no exceptions in that ordinance for religious institutions.
The situation of Carla Hale is not unlike other instances of Roman Catholic persecution of LGBT Catholics. Like Nicholas Coppola, Carla's firing was based on an anonymous letter sent to the school. And like Barbara Johnson last year, it came at a time of grief and mourning over the passing of her mother.
The diocese has issued a statement saying that Carla wasn't fired for being in a relationship, but was fired because the obituary publically stated her relationship. Carla said she was shocked at how mean-spirited the hierarchy can be.
Even Carla's lawyer, Tom Tootle, warned that this situation could harm others. "What I would say to the nurse at Mount Carmel Hospital or the groundskeeper at a Catholic cemetery is take notice of what's going on here," Tootle said.
Sign the Change.org petition telling Bishop Watterson High School to restore Carla Hale to her job.
Nicholas Coppola has also launched a Change.org petition, asking the Chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, to break bread with him and learn about the lives and realities of LGBT Catholics.