The Archdiocese of Denver has defended the firing of a teacher, Maggie Barton, who was terminated due to her same-sex relationship.
The archdiocese has claimed that the relationship violated the teacher’s employment contract, which all Catholic school teachers in the Archdiocese of Denver sign at the beginning of each school year.
The contract requires teachers to “personally exemplify the characteristics of Catholic living,” including refraining from taking any public position or conducting themselves in a manner contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The archdiocese has emphasized that the fact that an employee experiences same-sex attraction is not in itself a cause for termination, but all employees must abide by their contract. However, Barton has claimed that her firing was discriminatory.
The Archdiocese of Denver has stated that it is important for its schools to follow the faith in order to provide students with an “authentic and fully Catholic education,” and that someone who persists in a lifestyle contrary to Catholic views will find it difficult to teach them to the students. The archdiocese has declined to comment on the matter, citing its Feb. 3 statement, in which it said:
“In this case, the school was made aware that one of their teachers is in a same-sex relationship, and after discussing this with the teacher, learned that she intends to persist in violating the standards she previously agreed to uphold. An employee who violates any of the terms of their employment agreement knows from the outset of their work that they can’t remain employees at the school.”
In Colorado, religious institutions are protected to make decisions based on religious beliefs.
This is not the first time a Catholic school teacher has been fired for their sexual orientation. In October of 2021, a Catholic music teacher in Queens was fired by the Diocese of Brooklyn for the same reason.