O’Grady Commencement Address Canceled At Catholic High School

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Franklin County Commissioner John O'Grady is a practicing Catholic and alum of Bishop Ready High School.(Photo: Franklin County Commission)
Franklin County Commissioner John O'Grady is a practicing Catholic and alum of Bishop Ready High School.(Photo: Franklin County Commission)

Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady says his invitation to deliver the commencement address at a Columbus Catholic high school was canceled only a few days before the event. O’Grady says the cancellation was made because he supports same-sex marriage.

Commissioner O’Grady says he was looking forward to addressing this year’s graduating class at Bishop Ready High School, the school where he graduated in 1982.

“I was absolutely looking forward to it so I was pretty sad about it but you know, it’s a tough time right now. There’s a lot of things going on and a lot of things happening in the church so, you know, it is what it is,” O’Grady says.

O’Grady says his invitation to speak was rescinded because he co-chairs the Freedom to Marry initiative. That initiative seeks to abolish Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage. O’Grady has been a life-long Catholic, but the right for gay people to marry, O’Grady says, is a firmly held personal belief.

“You know I’ve been catholic for 49 years. And the institution is important to me and to a lot of people. But I believe what I believe. It’s a social justice issue for me,” O’Grady says.

This is the third time recently that employees or members of the church have come in direct public conflict with church teachings. In March, longtime Watterson High School health teacher Carla Hale was fired after her “quasi-spousal” relationship with another woman was published in her mother’s obituary. Last week in Cincinnati, a jury awarded former catholic school teacher Christa Dias more than $170,000 after the archdiocese of Cincinnati fired her for becoming pregnant by artificial insemination. Meanwhile Commissioner O’Grady is looking ahead.

“I would have loved to have delivered the speech but we’ll move on and hopefully there will be some healing coming in the future,” O’Grady says.

A call by WOSU to Bishop Ready’s principal seeking comment was not immediately returned.

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