A gay man who taught English for 23
years at a Catholic high school in Ohio has been fired.
In reporting the firing, the Dayton
Daily News did not identify the teacher. But a Change.org
petition seeking his reinstatement identified him as Jim Zimmerman,
who is married to another man.
Zimmerman taught at Archbishop Alter
High School in Kettering, which is located outside Dayton. He will be
allowed to finish the school year but his contract was not renewed.
The decision not to renew Zimmerman's
contract has been linked to a complaint received by Archbishop Dennis
Schnurr, the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati,
which oversees the school.
Speaking with the Dayton Daily News,
Principal Lourdes Lambert said that she did not know the identity of
the person who filed the complaint but it was not related to an
incident involving Zimmerman and students at the school.
Nearly 11,500 people as of Thursday had
signed Michael Ferguson's change.org
petition calling for Zimmerman's reinstatement.
Ferguson, a student at Alter, said that
Zimmerman “is a teacher who does not just teach the curriculum but
also teaches important life lessons.”
Zimmerman's contract “was not renewed
because of who he is married to: a man,” Ferguson wrote.
“[Zimmerman's sexuality] is seen as
not right in the Church, but to take away someone's job for this
reason is outrageous,” he added.
While the Roman Catholic Church views
gay relationships as sinful, it has taken a stronger stand against
gay couples who marry.
According to New
Ways Ministry, a group that advocates on behalf of LGBT
Catholics, roughly 90 church workers “have lost their jobs in
LGBT-related employment disputes” since 2007. The first state to
allow gay and lesbian couples to marry was Massachusetts in 2004.
minister says he was fired over liking a gay friend's wedding post on