The head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has defended the firing of a gay teacher.

Carla Hale was terminated in March from her teaching position at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio after her employer, the Diocese, learned she was gay.

Hale, a 19 year health and physical education teacher at Watterson, was anonymously outed in a letter to the Diocese in February. The letter included Hale's mother's obituary, which listed her partner.

The 57-year-old told NPR affiliate WOSU that she was fired in a letter from the Columbus Diocese signed and delivered by Principal Marian Hutson.

Hale said that the Diocese fired her for violating moral law.

On Tuesday, Hale file a complaint with the city claiming that the school violated Columbus' anti-discrimination ordinance, which includes sexual orientation and has no exemption for religious organizations.

In an interview with the Columbus Dispatch, Bishop Frederick Campbell said that Hale was not fired because of her sexual orientation but because her “quasi-spousal relationship” with another woman goes against the church's moral teachings.

“We do this in an atmosphere of care, of calm consideration, but yet out of the realization that at particular times we have to make particular decisions,” Campbell said. “And they are difficult sometimes, but they do flow from what we believe, who we are and how we are to live.”

Campbell added that he was “very concerned” about threats the church has received over the incident, but added that “we have to remain steadfast in the teaching of the church.”