Oregon Catholic school changes policy on gay hiring after backlash

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Roman Catholic school in Portland has changed its policy on hiring gay employees following the uproar over its decision to withdraw a job offer to a lesbian.

The St. Mary’s Academy board voted for the change Aug. 26. In an email to parents, school president Christina Friedhoff said St. Mary’s is a diverse community that welcomes gay and lesbian students and faculty.

Continue Reading >>

School revokes job offer after learning woman is gay

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Share this story:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – A Catholic school in downtown Portland has rescinded its job offer for a college counseling position after learning that the candidate is gay.

The Oregonian reports 27-year-old Lauren Brown says St. Mary’s Academy withdrew its offer in late July after she told an administrator about her sexual orientation.

Continue Reading >>

Catholic school principal to hold parents’ meeting over gay teacher firing

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Share this story:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The principal of a suburban Philadelphia Catholic school plans to hold a meeting with parents next month about a gay teacher fired over her same-sex marriage.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says Waldron Mercy Academy principal Nell Stetser acknowledged the decision not to renew Margie Winters’ contract “continues to cause a great deal of pain and heartfelt questioning.”

Continue Reading >>

Gay Catholic school teacher shut out at archdiocese offices

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The suburban Philadelphia Catholic school teacher fired over her same-sex marriage was shut out after attempting to bring a box of petitions asking for her reinstatement to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Margie Winters, former director of religious education at Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion, was told by security that the Archdiocese’s Center City Philadelphia offices were on lockdown August 3.

Continue Reading >>

Archbishop: School that fired gay teacher showed ‘character’

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Roman Catholic school officials who fired a married gay teacher are not seeking controversy but showed “character and common sense” by following church teachings, Philadelphia’s archbishop said June 13.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, in a statement, thanked Waldron Mercy Academy leaders “for taking the steps to ensure that the Catholic faith is presented … in accord with the teaching of the church. They’ve shown character and common sense at a moment when both seem to be uncommon.”

Continue Reading >>

Catholic school administrator says gay marriage cost job

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Share this story:

MERION, Pa. (AP) — The director of religious education at a suburban Philadelphia Catholic school says she was fired because of her same-sex marriage.

Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion sent an email July 3 informing parents of Margie Winters’ dismissal.

Continue Reading >>

Screened Out – Love is Strange

By : Stephen Miller
Comments: 0

John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Cheyenne Jackson

The late, great Roger Ebert once said, “The more specific a film is, the more universal, because the more it understands individual characters, the more it applies to everyone.” He was talking of Brokeback Mountain. I once said he could’ve written this for The Kids are All Right. Now there’s another film that deserves such accolades: Love is Strange, a small, quiet romance with such an honest script and beautiful, intricate performances that it feels like a warm hug.

All of the titles I mentioned are considered “gay films,” and they are certainly informed by the struggles of the LGBT community. But more than that, they are also so specific to character and to tone that they become all-embracing. Anyone can relate to their struggles, because we connect them as individuals.

Continue Reading >>

Gay South Dakota coach will keep job at private school

By : Samantha Rosenthal
Comments: 0

DELL RAPIDS, S.D. (AP) – A volleyball coach at St. Mary High School in Dell Rapids who has publicly announced he’s gay says he’s being allowed to keep his job.

Nate Alfson announced he was gay last week on the website www.outsports.com , and later said he was concerned about his future with the private Catholic school. He is believed to be the first openly gay high school coach in South Dakota.

Continue Reading >>

Guest column: The Right to Be Wrong

By : Richard Rosendall
Comments: 0
Richard Rosendall

Richard Rosendall

I have been fighting the Catholic Church since I first argued with a nun at St. Catherine Labouré Elementary School in Wheaton, Maryland in 1962. I don’t recall being smacked with a ruler, but Sister Mary Margaret gave intimidating glares.

I remembered her, and the scorn of the parish’s Monsignor W. Joyce Russell toward liberal priests during 1968’s uproar over the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, when I helped win D.C. marriage equality over objections by the Archdiocese of Washington several decades later. The Archdiocese wanted various exemptions enabling them, for example, to receive government contracts for adoption services while turning away gay couples. They lost. They then withdrew from public adoption services and were replaced by another contractor.

Continue Reading >>

Gay teacher says he knew his engagement would get him fired

By : Wire Story
Comments: 2

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) – A gay teacher at a Roman Catholic school in Ohio says he knew that announcing his engagement would mean he’d be forced to leave his job.

Brian Panetta says he had hoped to step down as band and choir director at Sandusky Central Catholic School at the end of the school year.

Continue Reading >>

Union won’t back fired gay Ohio teacher

By : Wire Report
Comments: 0

Share this story:

A gay teacher challenging her firing by an Ohio Catholic school says the local union for Catholic educators has decided not to proceed with her complaint.

Carla Hale said Monday the grievance committee for the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators isn’t supporting her efforts to get back her job as a physical-education teacher. The association hasn’t returned telephone calls seeking comment.

Continue Reading >>

Students coming out op-ed takes off

By :
Comments: 0

In November, Sean Simonson, a student at Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School in St. Louis Park wrote an editorial, “Life as a Gay Teenager,” for his Catholic school’s student newspaper that touched off a controversy and ignited Twin Cities media and the blogosphere.

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio News at year’s end, Sean and his mother Ann Simonson talked about all that’s happened since Sean penned his op-ed for the school paper that began “I have considered suicide.”

His piece was a personal response from a gay teen to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ DVD mailed to parishioners before the election urging a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Sean had told his parents a year ago he was gay and Ann Simonson said she was supportive of her son, but the exposure in the school newspaper worried her.

“For people of my generation, coming out and being public, especially so young, not only meant possible isolation, or being bullied, but I mean you could be beat up and be killed,” she said. “And so for Sean, I’m clearly supportive of him, but I wasn’t initially as supportive of his story only because I wanted to protect him, and once a story’s out there, hands off. I can’t protect him.”

Sean’s story and the flap caused by the administration’s attempt to clamp down on online comments took off in a big way. It was a natural for journalists _ we any love story with even a whiff of censorship _ and blogs and social media spread it far and wide. Sean felt the strangeness of the student journalist becoming the news.

“I remember just Googling my name and going to the news and I had 208 articles like that just featured my name,” he said.

And in the true measure of impact these days … friend requests poured in on Facebook. Sean estimates 80 to 100 complete strangers tried to add him as a friend.

“I think there was like a person from Korea, and someone from like Norway,” he said.

What was more stunning to Sean though, was the reaction closer to home.

“I got one handwritten letter left for me in the main office from a teacher. And then I got like three or four emails from teachers basically saying they support me,” he said. “It was teachers I wasn’t close to and so that kind of surprised me.”

Sean said a school administrator told him it was worth what the school had gone through if just one kid benefited from what he had written.

If the point of Sean’s piece was to get a dialogue going about supporting gay teens, he succeeded not only among his peers, but also among adults. Ann Simonson said she was caught off guard by the reaction in her social circles.

“I even had to take a couple days off just to respond to the all the emails and phone calls I’d received from friends,” she said. “It was just ringing off the hook. It was quite amazing. You find out who your friends are, that’s for sure.”

In the days that followed, Sean found his anonymous detractors, the online commenters, melted away. The Knight-Errant student newspaper instituted a new comment policy: no anonymous comments and writers must use valid emails.

And he found he had even more friends than he thought he did. In early December, he was elected Grand Knight, the equivalent of the prom king, for Benilde-St. Margaret’s winter formal.

“It was almost surprising to hear my name called, that I was a candidate even,” he said.

And the student suddenly famous for coming out as gay invited a girl to the dance.

“I don’t really have a guy to ask,” he said. “And I love going to these dances. They’re a lot of fun. I picked someone that I knew I’d have fun with.”

Over winter break, Simonson’s celebrating his early admission to Georgetown University. He’s in the early stages of planning a Gay-Straight Alliance for Catholic students in the metro area. And he’s been attending meetings of another Gay-Straight Alliance at a Lutheran Church in Minnetonka.