Gay Teacher’s Job Dispute Heads To City Hall, Possibly Lawsuit

Carla Hale says she'll appeal her dismissal from Bishop Watterson High School to City Hall and possibly common pleas court. She taught health and physical education at Watterson for 19 years.(Photo: Carla Hale)
Carla Hale says she'll appeal her dismissal from Bishop Watterson High School to City Hall and possibly common pleas court. She taught health and physical education at Watterson for 19 years.(Photo: Carla Hale)

Fired Watterson High School teacher, Carla Hale, says she’ll continue to fight her dismissal. The Catholic Diocese of Columbus says Hale was fired, not for being gay, but for “the spousal relationship publicized in the newspaper which is against church teaching.” Hale included her female partner’s name in her mother’s obituary. She was then fired on March 28th. Prior to her dismissal, Hale taught at Watterson for 19 years.

“I go from extremely down and depressed to, you know, stop feeling sorry for yourself look at everything that is going on in the world and this is happening for a reason. And I have to be supporting all those who are standing up in my behalf.” Says Hale.

During a news conference at Stonewall Columbus, Hale says she’ll file a complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission. The city has an ordinance banning discrimination of gays and others. Hale’s attorney, Thomas Tootle, says any potential lawsuit will frame constitutional issues on church-state relations.

“There is obviously clear implications of separation of church and state issues, the establishment clause to the United States constitution. However, based upon case law as I see it. We are very confident.”

In a copy of the grievance form distributed at the news conference. Watterson principal, Marion Hutson, writes Hale was fired for “the spousal relationship publicized in the newspaper, which is against church teaching.” Hale mentioned her same-sex partner in her mother’s obituary.

In a written statement, Catholic Diocese of Columbus Communications Director, George Jones, says: “Personnel who choose to publicly espouse relationships or principles that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church cannot, ultimately, remain in the employ of the church.”

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