Though gay teacher Michael Griffin brought his long-term boyfriend to school functions and even visited the headmaster’s house together, he apparently crossed the line when he got his marriage license in New Jersey last week.
The Spanish and French teacher at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania for the past 12 years was told by the headmaster that “his impending marriage to his partner of more than a decade ‘contradicts the terms of his teaching contract.’”
“Today I applied for a marriage license since New Jersey now has marriage equality,” Griffin said on his personal Facebook page Friday. “After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner. Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School today. I am an alumnus of the school and have taught there for 12 years. I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words.”
Griffin emailed the school administration of his plan to get a marriage license, believing it wouldn’t be an issue as his sexuality was no secret. However, he now believes that email is what led to his termination.
“At a meeting in my office yesterday, teacher Michael Griffin made clear that he obtained a license to marry his same sex partner,” Headmaster Father James McCloskey wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, this decision contradicts the terms of his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their employment. In discussion with Mr. Griffin, he acknowledged that he was aware of this provision, yet he said that he intended to go ahead with the ceremony. Regretfully, we informed Mr. Griffin that we have no choice but to terminate his contract effective immediately.”
Because the school is a private, parochial institution, this is legal. Though Pennsylvania has a nondiscrimination law, it only prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, sex, ancestry, national origin, religion, educational level, and disability. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not included.