A gay teacher at a Catholic high school was fired late last week after he applied for a marriage license.
Michael Griffin was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pa., after administrators said his obtaining a license to marry his same-sex partner was a violation of his contract.
Father James McCloskey, the school’s headmaster, said in a statement that faculty at the school are required to follow church teachings, NBC Philadelphia reported.
He said in the statement that Griffin’s 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.”
Griffin, who graduated from the school and has taught French and Spanish there for 12 years, said that his relationship with his partner of 12 years wasn’t a secret from the school and that his partner had even been to McCloskey’s house.
Griffin lives in New Jersey, which became the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriage in October.
The following is the letter McCloskey released on Dec. 9:
In recent days, our school has been the subject of news stories arising from the decision to terminate the employment of Mr. Michael Griffin as a teacher at Holy Ghost Prep. We acknowledge that this decision has been difficult for everyone involved – for Mr. Griffin certainly, but also for students, families, faculty and staff, our alumni and all who are a part of the Holy Ghost community. We regret the pain that this has caused to any and all involved.
In response to press questions about this matter, the school issued the following statement on Saturday, December 7th. The statement is as follows:
“At a meeting in my office yesterday (December 6th), teacher Michael Griffin made clear that he intends to obtain a license to marry his same sex partner. 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 in his contract, 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.”
I have included the statement in an effort to keep everyone in our school community fully informed about this matter, and we will continue to do so as we move forward.
Fr. James McCloskey, C.S.Sp.