Gay Catholic School Teacher Fired for Wedding Plans

Teacher fired after applying for marriage license.

ByABC News
December 8, 2013, 12:04 PM

Dec. 8, 2013 — -- A gay teacher at a Pennsylvania Catholic school said he was fired after he applied for a marriage license to wed his long-time partner.

Michael Griffin worked at the Holy Ghost Preparatory School for 12 years teaching French and Italian. He said that although administrators, including the principal, knew he was gay, he never had any major conflict with the Catholic administrators until Friday.

Griffin said he was fired on Friday after he had emailed administrators to tell them he was going to file for a marriage license and would be slightly late to work.

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Griffin said the school administrators told him that the email sent on the school email server made his relationship public and therefore they had to fire him if he decided to go through with the marriage.

"He said… 'if you go through with that I have no other choice but to fire you,'" Griffin said of the ultimatum issued by Holy Ghost Preparatory School President Father James McCloskey. "I was in shock, I had no forewarning."

Griffin said McCloskey and other school administrators knew he was gay, but had never brought it up prior. Griffin and his partner had a civil union five years prior and he wears a wedding ring in school.

In a statement sent to ABC News from McCloskey and Holy Ghost Preparatory School, the school president said Griffin was fired for violating the terms of his contract by deciding to marry a partner of the same sex.

"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," McCloskey said in the statement. "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."

Griffin said he has not decided whether he will discuss his termination with a lawyer, but was incredibly saddened by the administrators' actions.

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Griffin, who also attended Holy Ghost Preparatory School and was raised Catholic, said he loved teaching at the school. Griffin said he has only heard positive messages from faculty and students.

"There's so much in it that I agree with," Griffin said. "We talk about brotherhood with all of these people. ... I feel like my parents disowned me but my brothers still stand by me."