Within in a week of our nation celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, parents at Waldron Mercy Academy in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania are protesting the administration’s decision to fire one of its beloved educators over her same-sex marriage. The principal of the school sent an email to the community of Waldron Mercy stating that the decision was made to protect the school’s Catholic identity by following the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic instructor has been the director of religious education at the school for the past eight years and has been honest about her marriage from the beginning of her employment at Waldron Mercy. When she asked the principal how she should handle her marital status, she was advised to keep it quiet, only discussing her personal life with colleagues while refraining from being open with students and parents. She says she has maintained this low profile, even though it was difficult for her to not be open about her marital relationship.
Two parents recently found out about her marriage and contacted the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Waldron Mercy. The instructor was asked to resign from her position and when she refused, she received a letter telling her she had been terminated. The Archdiocese claims that it had no role in the decision-making process to terminate the instructor, but Archbishop Charles J. Chaput recently wrote an article claiming that the Supreme Court decision was “an abuse of judicial power.”
While Lower Merion Township has laws that protect employees from discrimination, including sexual discrimination, they do not apply to religious organizations. Waldron Academy’s receipt of over $270,000 in state grant money; however, may provide an exemption in this case. The Waldron Mercy Academy instructor stated that she believes the school is protecting its Catholic identity so that it can continue to receive state funding through the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit and the Educational Improvement Tax Credit programs.
The decision to terminate the teacher on the basis of her same-sex marriage comes just a little over two months away from the World Meeting of Families taking place in Philadelphia. The conference and Pope Francis’ impending visit is expected to draw approximately 1.5 million people from around the country. The ex-teacher has stated that she hopes her situation brings about an open and honest discussion on the issues separating the Catholic Church from society’s emerging values.
Philadelphia Wrongful Termination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Advocates for the Rights of the LGBTQ Community
If you or someone you know has been treated unfairly or terminated from your job because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or same-sex marriage, your employer may have broken state and federal antidiscrimination laws that offer you protection. Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates are strong advocates for those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community and are committed to defending your rights in the workplace.
Call the experienced and knowledgeable employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates at 215-569-1999, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in center city Philadelphia allowing us to serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.