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Catholic school fires 'outed' lesbian teacher after 19 years

By Marcus Hondro     Apr 21, 2013 in World
A teacher at a Catholic high in Columbus, Ohio has been fired because she is lesbian. Carla Hale, a teacher with a good record at Bishop Watterson High School, was let go after 19 years when she was outed in her mom's obituary.
Hale told the Columbus Dispatch she kept her private life just that all those years - private. But upon her mother's recent death the obituary mentioned Carla and her "partner" Julie. A parent of a student told Bishop Watterson and Hale was soonafter fired.
Hale got the news via a termination letter. "I didn't really have a response. I was in shock," she told the Dispatch. She said that her sexual orientation and her life with her female partner were never brought up at the school and did not affect her work there.
"I'm a very private person," Hale said. "The kids realize I'm there if they need me, but I would never talk about anything like that."
Catholic students support lesbian teacher
But all is not lost in this story, thanks to the students of Bishop Watterson, and it appears others who object to the firing. The students began an online petition late last week supporting their teacher at and as of Sunday night it has 37,354 signatures.
"She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect," student Jackson Garrity wrote on the peition site. "The diocese, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her. It's unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control."
Hale is understandably emotional about her students stepping up and supporting her. “It’s amazing that they’ve come together and rallied around this situation. I’m in awe of them.”
Carla Hale: Illegally fired?
The Dispatch story notes Hale's firing may be illegal because of an ordinance in Columbus that makes discriminating against an employee based on sexual orientation against the law. Further, Hale points out there are others at the school not in compliance with the Catholic Church's dictates, including straight teachers living common-in-law, teachers who are divorced and teachers who use birth control.
She has filed a grievance against the school and is fighting to get her job back.
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