US: Catholic school fires gay band leader for planning to marry partner

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A private Catholic school in Georgia has fired its band leader for planning to marry his same-sex partner.

Flint Dollar, who had been band director at the Catholic Mount De Sales Academy in Macon for four years, told WMAZ on Thursday that he had been let go because he was planning to marry his partner.

He said: “When I was hired at Mount De Sales, I made it very clear that I am gay and that I was living with my partner.

“And I said, if this is a problem for you or for the academy, I don’t need to be here, because I will not change who I am for a job.”

The academy told him at the time his lifestyle would not be an issue as long as it did not interfere with his teaching, but earlier this week he was fired when he revealed he planned to marry.

He said: “I was told that there were student complaints, there were parent complaints – but there’s nothing in my personnel file.

“Not because I’m gay, but because I’m marrying my partner, I would not be allowed to return. Part of my initial response was ‘I don’t get to tell my students goodbye’.”

The school’s president David Held said in a statement: “Personnel decisions are never easy, and we consider many factors when making such decisions.

“Teaching ability, knowledge of the subject matter, the ability to communicate with constituents, and the willingness to support the teachings of the Catholic Church are just some of factors considered when making these decisions.

“Please know that these decisions are never made arbitrarily and are guided always by our mission as a Catholic School.”

Students have set up a Facebook page to protest the decision, and Held agreed to a meeting with parents yesterday, to discuss their concerns.

However, a statement on the ‘Save Mr Dollar’ page says: “At our meeting today Mr. Held listened to everyone’s concerns however he did not really answer any of our questions.

“We didn’t get very far. I don’t think we made a difference.

“The only thing that I guess could be considered good is that Rosalyn Simpson, the drum major at MDS, will be on the hiring committee for a new band director but I know that no one can replace Mr. Dollar.”

In its equality principal, it claims it is “committed to the principles of equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals without regard to race, colour, gender, ancestry, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or any other characteristic or status that is protected by federal, state, or local law.”