Another Catholic school. Another devoted Catholic school employee fired for the crime of being in a same-sex relationship. Another group of parents and students calling out the hypocrisy and heartlessness of Church officials.
The latest version of this story takes place at Waldron Mercy Academy in Pennsylvania, where director of religious education Margie Winters was fired after eight years, despite keeping her relationship as quiet as possible:
Winters said she and her wife “kept a really low profile” about their relationship at the school.
“I actually had a conversation with the principal a few weeks after I was hired to say, how should I handle this,” said Winters, adding that she was advised that she could be open about her life with the faculty but to avoid discussing it with students’ parents.
“So that’s what I’ve done,” she said. “I’ve never been open. And that’s been hard.”
Still, parents of at least two students discovered that Winters was in a same-sex marriage. Winters said one complained to the school and the other contacted the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
That was all it took. Winters was fired for the crime of being in a committed relationship with someone the Church didn’t want her to marry.
Usually, I would say this is a private Catholic school and they have a right to be bigots, but it’s a little more complicated than that:
Lower Merion Township has an antidiscrimination ordinance that protects employees for several reasons, including sexual orientation. Religious institutions are exempt unless they are “supported in whole or in part by government appropriations.”
State Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat who represents the school’s area, noted that Waldron Mercy lists on its website that it has received more than $270,000 in the last two years from the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program.
So the school could actually be punished for its bigotry.
Many of the students and parents might be okay with that, too. They’re fully in support of Winters and are appalled (for some reason) by the school’s actions:
Nancy Houston and her husband plan to host a parents’ meeting Wednesday evening.
“It was a surprise, coming from Waldron,” Houston said. “That’s not who we are. Right now, there’s a lot of questions.”
The firing, she added, is “not something we’re going to accept quietly.”
Well… it may not be who you are, but it’s par for the course for Catholic leaders.
Still, raise a ruckus, everyone. Especially if you’re giving money to the Church. It’s the only way they’ll pay any attention.
(Thanks to Zack for the link)