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Gay Dean Loses Her Job After Marrying Her Partner

Illustration for article titled Gay Dean Loses Her Job After Marrying Her Partner

A reminder that bigotry is alive and well even where gay marriage is legal: a popular dean of students has been forced to resign from a Massachusetts high school for marrying another woman.

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According to MassLive.com, Christine Judd was athletic director and dean at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts — until she married her partner last month. At that point the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield gave her a choice — quit or be fired. Says diocese spokesman Mark Dupont,

Without being specific to this matter, it should be clear that all employees of our Catholic schools are made aware of our policies and regulations. This includes language that clearly states that whenever by public example, an employee engages in or espouses conduct which contravenes the doctrine and teaching of the Catholic Church, that employee may be subject to disciplinary action. To do otherwise would be in contradiction to the values we believe in and are teaching in these same schools. So while we certainly want to be compassionate and understanding, we must be true to who we are.

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Judd says that she's "still exploring her legal options," and that "she questions if there are lay persons who work for the Catholic diocese who divorce and remarry without an annulment, or employees who use birth control, or men who have had vasectomies, or individuals who are pro-choice on abortion." I also wonder whether the diocese was fine with Judd's sexual orientation as long as she didn't put it out in the open by exercising her right (legally protected in Massachusetts) to get married. Whatever the case, Judd makes two things clear: one, that this was entirely a diocese decision and her school is not at fault, and two, that those responsible for forcing her out have done a disservice to her students. She says, "In the end, the timing of this issue really affects the kids. That is where it has the most effect." These kids have lost a positive influence in their lives — one reader tells us, "she was always a good teacher and Dean." In her place, they've received the message that if they're gay, the Church thinks it's fine to force them out of their jobs. It's ironic that in being "true to who we are," the diocese denied someone else the right to do so.

Springfield Cathedral High School Athletic Director Christine Judd Loses Job After Same-Sex Marriage [MassLive.com]

Image via MassLive.com

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DISCUSSION

Eh, I can't really get up in arms about this - it's the OTHER side of that whole separation of church and state thing.

Religion should not be able to force its will on the state (gays should be allowed to marry in secular ceremonies) AND the state should not be able to force its will on religion (religious institutions do not have to accept or tacitly approve marriages that go against their doctrine).

I think most Catholic schools follow a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The Catholic school I went to growing up had an openly gay teacher whose partner would come with her to church and events, but it was just never really talked about (seems similar to this dean). I have a friend now who is a Catholic school teacher, who is currently "living in sin" with her fiance. This also a sort of open secret at her school.

However once you make it official, once you put it on the public record, once this dean married, the school lost any sort of plausible deniability. This dean's parish may be accepting, but they are still subject to the rules of the diocese. I understand why they can't have that.