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Philly-area Catholic school teacher says fired for gay marriage

Dec. 8, 2013 at 12:50 AM   |   Comments

BENSALEM, Pa., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A gay teacher says he was fired from his job at a suburban Philadelphia Catholic school after applying for a marriage license with his partner.

Officials at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem said Michael Griffin, who taught Spanish and French at the private all-boys school until he was fired Friday, had violated his contract when he applied for a marriage license with his same-sex partner in New Jersey.

"Today I applied for a marriage license since NJ now has marriage equality," Griffin posted on his Facebook page. "After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner. Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School today. I am an alumnus of the school and have taught there for 12 years. I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words."

Griffin said he had sent an email to school administrators informing them of his intentions, not expecting to be terminated given that his relationship had not been a secret among school faculty and staff, WCAU-TV, Philadelphia, reported.

"I've been with my partner for more than 12 years, the entire time I've been teaching at the school," Griffin told the TV station. "He's been to numerous school functions with me ... ."

The Rev.James McCloskey, the school's headmaster, confirmed in a statement that Griffin was fired over his application for a same-sex marriage license.

"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. "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."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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