Fired Gay Teacher Supporters Want Talk With Catholic Bishop

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Amanda Finelli prepares to deliver a letter seeking Columbus Bishop Frederick Campbell's attendance at a meeting to discuss gay rights in the workplace. Finelli is with the grassroots group #halestormOhio which supports fired Watterson High School teacher Carla Hale.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)
Amanda Finelli prepares to deliver a letter seeking Columbus Bishop Frederick Campbell's attendance at a meeting to discuss gay rights in the workplace. Finelli is with the grassroots group #halestormOhio which supports fired Watterson High School teacher Carla Hale.(Photo: Mandie Trimble, WOSU News Reporter)

Supporters of fired Bishop Watterson High School teacher Carla Hale have appealed to the Columbus Catholic Bishop to join them in a discussion later this month on gay rights in the workplace.

“Hi. Can you please see that Bishop [Frederick] Campbell gets that?” Amanda Finelli handed a sealed envelope to a Columbus Diocese worker in Downtown Columbus.

She’s part of the group #halestormOhio which supports fired Watterson High School teacher Carla Hale, who is gay. The group wants Campbell to attend a forum on gay rights in the workplace.View a copy of the letter sent to the Columbus Diocese.

Finelli said Campbell could dispel what she calls an “us versus them” narrative from the Catholic Church.

“We are very willing to hear his position, hear his side, and to have an intellectual discussion with him based on that,” Finelli said. “And he has an opportunity now to come forward and change the way he is perceived in this story.”

Ohio Pride @ Work, an LGBT group within the AFL-CIO, will help host the event. Pride @ Work president Glenn Skeen, who said gay rights are a workplace issue.

“We really do feel that we should all have the ability to have a job and not be discriminated against based on our sexual orientation or our gender identity,” Skeen said.

While Skeen is hopeful, he acknowledged it’s unlikely the Bishop will attend the forum.

“We have to start somewhere, though, and we really do want to engage in civil discourage and honest discussion.”

Skeen said the forum may be closed to the public if that encourages Campbell’s attendance.

Hale was fired in March after the Diocese received an anonymous letter complaining the physical education teacher listed her same-sex partner in her mother’s obituary.

Hale said she was let go from her post of nearly 20 years because she is gay. But the Diocese contends Hale was fired because she violated her contact by publicizing her “quasi-spousal” relationship.

The Diocese declined comment.

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