Bensalem, Pennsylvania high school teacher Michael Griffin had no idea that filing out paperwork to obtain a marriage license would get him fired. A 12-year veteran Spanish and French teacher of Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Griffin is also an alumnus. In short, much of his life has been spent at that school.
“I was blindsided, I really didn’t see it coming” Griffin told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell last night. He says that the school was very aware he was in a long-term relationship with Vincent Giannetto — a relationship that pre-dated his employment.
In fact, Griffin says, in 2008 he and his partner entered into a civil union, of which the school was fully aware.
“My partner came to school functions with me and a school administrator attended the ceremony after our civil union in 2008,” Griffin told MSNBC. “I even asked the president if it’d be ok to bring him to a holiday party at his home very early on in my teaching career.”
On Friday, Griffin sent Rev. James McCloskey, the president of the private Catholic school, a short email stating he might be late because he was getting a marriage license. While the response he got back was, “OK,” clearly it was not. McCloskey fired him after a conversation, that same day, effective immediately.
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement saying Griffin “served his school, and more importantly his students well for 12 years … only to be fired for making a commitment to the person he loves.”
“Fifteen LGBT teachers have been fired from Catholic schools in the past two years alone,” HRC notes. They’re calling on Holy Ghost Prep to “immediately cease discriminatory employment practices.”
There is now a very active Facebook community page. The group is sending the school a letter supporting Griffin, signed by over 90 alumni and former faculty members.
You can also sign a Change.org petition.
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