According to New Ways Ministries, more
than 50 LGBT people have reported losing their jobs at Catholic
institutions since 2010.
The latest firing came in June, when
Margie Winters, 50, lost her job at Waldron Mercy Academy, a Catholic
elementary school in Philadelphia, after a parent complained that she
was in a marriage with another woman since 2007.
Last week, Winters delivered 23,000
petitions seeking her reinstatement to her job. Winters, flanked by
supporters, handed over the petitions not to a church official but to
a security guard.
“The school and the Sisters of Mercy
allowed me to work there for eight years,” Winters told the AP.
“Once the diocese was notified, something changed.”
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput
said that he was “grateful” that Winters was fired and praised
school officials for showing “character and common sense.”
Francis DeBernardo, executive director
of New Ways Ministries, told the
AP that many Catholic institutions are supportive of their LGBT
employees but are forced to act in the face of unwanted attention.
“The pattern that I see is that
schools themselves, many of them, have been supportive of their gay
and lesbian employees, even those who have chosen to marry,” he
said. “The problem always arises when something becomes public, or
a parent complains. It's bringing out the worst in the leadership,
and it's bringing out the best in the people.”
The events unfolding in Philadelphia
are happening just before Pope Francis is set to visit next month for
the World Meeting of Families.