A Florida history teacher has been suspended after it was revealed he wrote about his objections to gay marriage on his personal Facebook page.
Jerry Buell, who was Mount Dora High School's "Teacher of the Year" last year, reportedly wrote that he almost "threw up" in response to New York's legalization of same-sex marriage in July.
According to Fox News, the school system received a complaint about the comment Tuesday and suspended and reassigned Buell the next day.
“It was my own personal comment on my own personal time on my own personal computer in my own personal house, exercising what I believed as a social studies teacher to be my First Amendment rights,” Buell told Fox.
Buell provided the following transcript of his comments, posted July 25:
“I’m watching the news, eating dinner when the story about New York okaying same-sex unions came on and I almost threw up,” he wrote. “And now they showed two guys kissing after their announcement. If they want to call it a union, go ahead. But don’t insult a man and woman’s marriage by throwing it in the same cesspool of whatever. God will not be mocked. When did this sin become acceptable?”
Three minutes later, Buell posted another comment: “By the way, if one doesn’t like the most recently posted opinion based on biblical principles and God’s laws, then go ahead and unfriend me. I’ll miss you like I miss my kidney stone from 1994. And I will never accept it because God will never accept it. Romans chapter one.”
Chris Patton, a communications officer for the school system, told Fox there was concern about how Buell might treat gay students in his class. He also disputed the notion that the comments were private.
"He has [more than] 700 friends," Patton said. "How private is that – really? Social media can be troubling if you don’t respect it and know that just because you think you are in a private realm – it’s not private."
He vowed Buell will not return to the classroom until "a thorough job of looking at everything – past or previous writings" is complete.
Buell said he thought the school is trying to silence Christian teachers, warning them not to express their views.
"There is an intimidation factor if you are a Christian or if you make a statement against it [gay marriage] you are a bigot, a homophobe, you’re a creep, you’re intolerant," he said. "We should have the right to express our opinions and talk about things."