Statements by a State Senator provide clear evidence that Pennsylvania Christian schools are at risk should SB 974 (the so-called “Fairness Act”) become law. At issue: What happens when a Christian school dismisses a teacher for engaging in a public act contrary to the school’s religious teaching, such as marrying their same-sex partner?
It’s a serious question, and one the PA Family Council (PFC) recently highlighted on its blog, featuring this real life example. In December 2013, Holy Ghost Preparatory School of Bensalem (a Catholic school) dismissed a teacher for announcing he was marrying his same-sex partner. That action by the teacher is a direct violation of church teaching.
Senator Daylin Leach took this as an opportunity to make several statements denouncing the firing, and to promote legislation which would have made this school’s decision illegal.
And yet Senator Leach responded to the story on the PFC blog by saying it misrepresents his position and that he “has never heard of Holy Ghost Prep.”
For the record, may we remind the Senator of his statements to the Huffington Post responding to the decision made by Holy Ghost Prep. Quoting from that story:
Michael Griffin, an openly gay teacher at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, was fired on Friday for obtaining a marriage license with his longtime partner in New Jersey and the dismissal was completely legal under Pennsylvania state law.
“In Pennsylvania, there are no protections for that, which sounds crazy, even crazier than my story,” Griffin said.
State Sen. Daylin Leach said he’d like to see that changed by amending the Pennsylvania human Relations Act to include language to cover sexual orientation……
“The thing we hear is that we don’t need this because it never happens,” said Leach, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Montgomery and Delaware counties. “This is a perfect example of how it happened.”
WHYY covered this story as well – which included at-length comments by Senator Leach; of which he posted the link to his own Facebook page:
Had pending Pennsylvania legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation been in effect, Griffin would still be teaching, said state Sen. Daylin Leach. Griffin would have been covered even if he had signed a school contract that mandated school employees follow teachings of the Catholic Church, Leach contended. “If it was illegal to fire a gay person, it would be illegal to fire someone even if they signed a contract saying, ‘You can fire me because I’m gay.’ Those sorts of contracts are usually rendered unenforceable by this type of law,” said Leach, D-Montgomery
By his own comments, Senator Daylin Leach says the long-standing practice of Catholic schools requiring their teachers to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church should be illegal. SB 974, the so-called “Fairness Act” (of which Sen. Leach is a sponsor) would make it so.
And that should trouble every Pennsylvanian who believes in fairness, tolerance and freedom.
Remind your Senator about true fairness and freedom – click here to send an email about SB 974.