Lesbian Teacher Fired for Listing Her Partner’s Name in Her Mother’s Obituary

Carla Hale

Carla Hale

Carla Hale, a teacher at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, has been fired because she listed her lesbian partner’s name in her mother’s obituary, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

But the firing has not sat well with students at the school.  They have organized a change.org petition to have Hale reinstated to her post as a physical education teacher.  The petition states, in part:

Bishop Watterson High School

“Carla Hale, a beloved teacher at Bishop Watterson High School, was fired because of her sexuality. She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The school, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her. Discrimination and injustice is something that we all have a duty to fight in today’s society. 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. The school claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale.”

According to the Dispatch story, Hale, who has worked at the school for 19 years, was fired after a parent complained about the obituary to the Diocese of Columbus.

According to LGBTQNation.com, the petition was started by Jackson Garrity, a senior at Bishop Watterson, who explained the motivation for the response:

“My classmates and I feel very passionately about this issue. We (the senior class) agreed that we needed to take a stand as leaders and voice our opinions.”

This is the second time this year that a Catholic school in Ohio has fired someone over LGBT issues.  The other case was Cincinnati Assistant Principal Mike Moroski, who was fired because of stating his support for marriage equality on his personal blog.

And the firings are part of a national trend of church leaders dismissing both paid employees and volunteers who are LGBT people, or lesbian/gay people who have become civilly married, or people who have stated their support of marriage publicly (see list of related blog posts below my signature).The most recent case before Hale’s was Nicholas Coppola in Long Island, New York, who was dismissed from several parish ministries because it became known that he married his partner.

If church leaders continue with this trend, they will soon find that they have no one left working in their institutions.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

April 4, 2013: Long Island Gay Catholic Expelled from Parish Ministries for Marrying

January 9, 2013: Transgender Teacher Sues Catholic School Over Firing

September 25, 2012: Fired New Zealand Teacher’s Final and Most Powerful Lesson

August 22, 2012: Catholic John Doe Fears for His Church Job Because of Marriage Equality Contribution

June 28, 2012: Fired Minnesota Catholic School Teacher Calls for Dialogue on Marriage Equality

May 5, 2012:  Excluding Lesbian and Gay Church Workers from Employment

April 29, 2012:  “Whodunit” Surrounds Decision to Disinvite Gay Alum from Commencement

March 1, 2012: Is It Possible to Find Hope in This Week’s Painful News?

February 12, 2012:  Church Music Director Fired For Marrying His Partner of 23 Years

26 replies
  1. Lisa Burke
    Lisa Burke says:

    You see, these are perfect examples of homophobic/biases actions that are PROHIBITED in Church teaching. We need to do a better job at catechizing on this point.

  2. Joe Sacerdos
    Joe Sacerdos says:

    Richard Rohr has stated over and again that “we either allow God to transform our pain and our darkness, or we will always transmit it onto others.” Until the significant number of bishops who are homosexual come out of the closet, they will continue to transmit their internalized homophobia and self loathing onto to those who are already “out.” The biggest homophobes are ALWAYS the biggest closet cases.

  3. Joe Carlin
    Joe Carlin says:

    These are the same people that simultaneously worry a) They will be discriminated against and b) that they won’t be able to discriminate against others.

  4. tomfluce
    tomfluce says:

    Darn, Frank, this list of firings along with your recent news about Fr. Alessio et al, are putting me at risk of being too repetitive with my “solution”: The Galileo Reconciliation Commission-GRC. Your readers are probably not yet aware of my “GRC” proposal since postings do get buried and I haven’t seen one “reply” to mine. Refresher: The Galileo Reconciliation Commission would be a new inside-the-church official body made up of our supporters and opponents who will agree on a immediately implementing a “new way”, a “loving” approach to dissent which will suspend the deadly neo-medieval tactics of silence, firings, amd excommunications.

    The drive to form the GRC has to be rather massive. Yeah we going to have to count on those still “closeted” in various positions along with our silent allies in the pews. In 1970 when I and thousands of other priests married and were totally blown away from our priest status thinking that such a massive “direct conscientious action” would revolutionize the church, we now know that it didn’t work. We should have stuck around organizing, doing real direct action in parish councils, with our priest supporters, maybe even some hierarchy. But we’re not cut out for the politics required. We let our opponents take over and we have seen what Matthew Fox has documented in his “The Popes Wars”. It doesn’t have to be that way. No more fear of neo-medieval tactics to keep us in line. But it’s a lot of work, more than most of us want to expend.

    Our unique challenge as LGBT folks is that unlike other dissenters, we get killed by the doctrine. Married priests, even women priests, Vat II collegiality, are not in that doctrinal cage. (Oh, yeah, sexuality–especially women–may be in the doctrinal mix too.) I’m saying we have to be creative. You can’t get people like some of my classmate bishops (Brother Murphy from Rockville Center were in the sem together in Boston and in Rome for 4 years) to simply deny church doctrine because of petitions or even because they might agree. Doctrinal change is slow and unfortunately deadly in church history including persecution to death including LGBT people. I believe the majority of catholics, regular members and officials, could more quickly agree to create the GRC than to deny church doctrine in these individual cases. O.K. civil society has seen the light. But we are more responsible for the RC’s change. By putting the LGBT issue on the GRC’s “loving in dissent” list as a genuine “sensus fidelium” we would have a chance at getting an agreement to stop the promulgation of those damning catechism sections, #2357-58, and make it “reasonable” to follow the higher doctrine of Jesus’ commandment to love, not allowing any more persecution while allowing for doctrinal revision.

    Please, someone, contact me. Google “leastharm” and you’ll find my blog. Let’s start organizing!

  5. KMC
    KMC says:

    After the RCC Hierarchy’s universal policy of coverup, transfer without notice to parishioners, etc, of their own CSA subordinates, they have the nerve to bleat about the Laity “causing scandal”!! Huh!!

    How does the principal know that the late mother didn’t write her own obituary & approve of her daughter’s choice of partners??
    Seems like they are making a lot of unfounded assumptions & assume that the daughter was “guilty” without listening to her side first!!

  6. Will
    Will says:

    Is this really an example of the Catholic pastoral response to a long term employee who has just lost her mother?

    From all the reports I have seen it looks as if the obituary is the only reason she has been fired – there is no suggestion of any weakness at all in her work – in fact the student response suggest she is much loved. Surely after 19 years any employer should be able to assess the character of an employee successfully – and not then exhibit raw prejudice and bigotry like this. It is simply unjust and will do the reputation of the Church a lot of damage among all reasoned and fair-minded people. Or are these sort of people no longer of any interest to the Church hierarchy?
    What would Jesus do?
    Matthew 7: 1-5 and John 8: 7

  7. PJ Alexander
    PJ Alexander says:

    I do not understand this at all. We as people are not here to judge other people. This to me is a big case of discrimination…when I was little I was taught we are all the same, for goodness sakes people wake up!!! It is a rough life out there, why make such a big deal out of something so petty. the teaching ability is what is important. These folks are just like everyone else, trying to make a living.

    Give them there jobs back! And mind your own business.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] am going to Panama for Shelly. I am going to Panama for Carla, my high school gym teacher who was fired after she listed her partner’s name in the […]

  2. […] exemption, then what are we to make of teachers in Catholic schools who are not Catholic.  Carla Hale, fired from her job as a physical education instructor, is a Methodist, and worked for 19 years at […]

  3. […] April 2013, Carla Hale , a Methodist, was fired from her 19-year position as a physical education teacher at a Catholic […]

  4. […] supporting marriage equality on a personal blog. Finally, the high-profile firing of gym teacher Carla Hale because it became public that she had a woman partner happened next door in Columbus, […]

  5. […] April 17, 2012: Lesbian Teacher Fired for Listing Her Partner’s Name in Her Mother’s Obituary […]

  6. […] being fired are not even members of the same church that runs the institution.  This happened with Carla Hale, a Methodist teacher fired from a Catholic high school this year, and also with Steav […]

  7. […] this past year in Catholic schools  (all of which were covered by  Bondings 2.0):  Mike Moroski, Carla Hale, Ken […]

  8. […] Hale was fired after her mother’s obituary included the name of the educator’s partner, sparking complaints from some Bishop Watterson High School parents. The ensuing controversy saw a Change.org petition gain 130,000 signatures in support of Hale, along with legal action and a social media campaign #halestorm. It also raised questions about civil law and church policy. […]

  9. […] April 17, 2013: Lesbian Teacher Fired For Listing Her Partner’s Name In Her Mother’s Obituary […]

  10. […] schools in Columbus, Ohoio are facing controversy again after a high school removed the invited commencement speaker because he openly supporting marriage […]

  11. […] Hale, the lesbian physical education teacher who was fired from her job at a Columbus, Ohio, Catholic high school, will receive no support from her teachers’ union […]

  12. […] LGBT employees.  The fact that an obituary was involved in his case, as it was in the firing of Carla Hale, also adds to the credibility of Nelson’s […]

  13. […] Carla Hale remains terminated from Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, even though support for her continues to grow and legal action against the Columbus Diocese […]

  14. […] to those student whom she seeks to support. Bondings 2.0 previously reported on Ms. Hale’s firing after a female partner was listed in her mother’s obituary, and on the growing pressure from many quarters on Bishop Watterson High School to reinstate the […]

  15. […] Erin Macke is only one of many LGBT individuals fired from a Catholic institution, similar to Carla Hale or Nicholas Coppola of recent weeks, she provides a hopeful lesson for all who find themselves […]

  16. […] 2.0 reported last week on the firing of Carla Hale, a teacher for 19 years at Bishop Watterson High school, who was terminated after listing a female […]

  17. […] Lesbian Teacher Fired for Listing Her Partner’s Name in Her Mother’s Obituary […]

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