The day he applied for a marriage license, Michael Griffin was fired from his job.
Griffin worked as a French and Spanish teacher at Holy Ghost Preparatory School, a Catholic school in Pennsylvania, for 12 years. On Friday he applied for a license to marry his longtime partner in New Jersey. He was promptly told that he had violated the “terms of the teaching contract” and was released from his job — even though school officials knew very well that he was in a same-sex relationship.
Perhaps worst of all is that the school acknowledges that his marriage is why they fired Griffin, and that because it’s a private school, their actions were perfectly legal. (Even if it weren’t a private school, Pennsylvania does not have any workplace protections in place for LGBT people.)
The school’s headmaster, Father James McCloskey, acknowledged that Griffin’s firing was due to his plans to marry his same-sex partner.
"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 NBC Philadelphia. "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."
Siiiigh. I truly believe the gap between Christianity and queerdom is closing, but institutional problems like this keep us from making real progress. I hope he finds another school that will actually value the important lessons he can impart.