A gay high school teacher was fired from an all-boys Catholic school — where he says his same-sex relationship was no secret — apparently because he applied for a marriage license with his partner.
The school reportedly said the action “contradicts the terms of his teaching contract,” noted WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.
Michael Griffin had taught Spanish and French at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in suburban Philadelphia for the last 12 years and also is an alumnus of the liberal arts private school.
Griffin told WCAU that an email to the school administration regarding his intention to obtain a marriage license in New Jersey is what led to his firing — which he said was a surprise since his relationship with his partner wasn’t a secret.
“I’ve been with my partner for more than 12 years, the entire time I’ve been teaching at the school,” Griffin told WCAU. “He’s been to numerous school functions with me, he’s even been to [the headmaster's] house.”
The headmaster, Fr. James McCloskey, said in a statement that Griffin’s termination stemmed from his obtaining a license to marry his same-sex partner, which is a violation of Holy Ghost Prep’s teaching terms and his teaching contract.
More from WCAU:
“At a meeting in my office yesterday, teacher Michael Griffin made clear that he obtained a license to marry his same sex partner,” McCloskey wrote in a statement obtained by WCAU. “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.”
He believes this section of the teachers code of conduct is the one that led to his firing:
“That, although, the School welcomes teachers from other denominations and recognizes their rights to religious freedom, as employees of a Catholic institution, all teachers are expected to uphold lifestyles compatible with the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.”
There’s no obvious indication from McCloskey in the WCAU article if he had previous knowledge of Griffin’s same-sex relationship, or if he became aware of the relationship after Griffin informed him about getting a marriage license.
Griffin posted about his termination on Facebook Friday morning, WCAU noted:
“Today I applied for a marriage license since NJ now has marriage equality,” Griffin wrote. “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.”
On Saturday Griffin posted another statement on his Facebook page:
“Thank you to everyone for all of your messages of love and support since yesterday. It is so overwhelming and my heart aches over everything that has happened. Holy Ghost helped form me to be the person that I am today. Even though I am no longer employed there, I wanted to share their mission and philosophy, because I feel like I have tried to make it my life’s philosophy as best I can, even now. I am trying to move forward with a peaceful heart and wish nothing but the best to my colleagues and students who mean the world to me.”