Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another Catholic college, another anti-gay action

The newspaper in Springfield, Illinois, describes yet another anti-gay action at a Catholic institution. This time, the employee in question, Laine Tadlock, was the openly lesbian Director of the Education program at Benedictine University. After publishing an announcement in the local newspaper that she had married her partner in Iowa in July, she was "let go." (As always in these kinds of personnel situations, the firing is actually a complicated series of maneuvers. They first tried to push Tadlock into early retirement. When she refused, they offered her a new position for which she was unqualified; when she declined the new position, they decided that meant she was resigning.)

The university points to the problematic inclusion of her employer in the announcement, as is typical for such announcements. (Tadlock is employed at Benedictine University, etc.) The newspaper article explains:
In a Sept. 30 letter to Tadlock’s attorney, Benedictine President William Carroll wrote, “… By publicizing the marriage ceremony in which she participated in Iowa she has significantly disregarded and flouted core religious beliefs which, as a Catholic institution, it is our mission to uphold.”
Um, the paper also points out that they were less interested in upholding their own nondiscrimination policy, which states:
“It is the university’s policy to provide equal employment opportunity to all persons without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, handicap, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or any basis protected by law.”
Are there any other heterosexual employees who would be fired for posting a wedding announcement in the paper? I think not.

What is most amazing is that this whole kerfuffle may have been kicked off by one lone "Catholic activist" who got his panties in a bunch about the announcement. "Steve Brady of Petersburg, said he complained to [newly installed Bishop] Paprocki. He also wrote and sent e-mails to other church officials condemning Tadlock and Benedictine following the announcement’s publication." The school administrators have spoken to three bishops about the issue and must have determined that the answer was to dismiss Tadlock, despite their institutional nondiscrimination policy.

She and her lawyer are considering legal options. I hope they sue. I believe they will win.

No comments: