Gay Catholic teacher allegedly not allowed to return to role after marrying partner

The teacher was allegedly let go due to her sexual orientation. (Stock Image/Getty)

A gay teacher at a Catholic school in Washington is allegedly not allowed to return to her role after marrying her partner. 

The kindergarten teacher was informed in person that she could not return to teach at St, Luke’s Catholic School in Shoreline, Washington, a representative of the school told PinkNews.

The teacher claimed that the decision to be let go from the role was due to her sexual orientation, alleged Whitney Hicks, a parent of a student at the school, to local outlet KIRO 7 News Seattle. 

The teacher explained to parents in person that Father Brad Hagelin became aware that she would soon be marrying her partner – which would make the teacher “go on record as being gay”, alleged Hicks.

Hicks alleged: “The priest said, ‘We are not renewing your contract because you are going on record as being gay by marrying your partner. It is public record.'”

The outlet host Deborah Horne asked the parent, “And you disagree with that?”, to which she responded: “Yes, with all my heart and soul.”

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A representative of the school highlighted to PinkNews that the issue was around the marriage, not her sexuality.

The teacher’s email to her student’s parents and guardians did not explicitly state the reason for her lack of contract renewal.

It simply read: “Father Brad (Hagelin) recently informed me that he will not be offering me a job at Saint Luke next year. The news has been extremely difficult for me. I am a faithful practicing Catholic and I was ready to spend the next 30 years of my career at St. Luke.”

Parents from the school intended on flying rainbow flags on 7 May in protest of the school not renewing her contract, as per local outlet MyNorthwest. Parents and other LGBTQ+ supporters also intended on handing out stickers and pins to raise awareness of the queer community. A spokesperson for the school said such items were not shared in protest, though.

Archbishop Paul Etienne said in a statement regarding the decision: “As with all employment-related matters we do not share details to respectfully protect the privacy of everyone involved. However, details around this situation have clearly emerged, maybe leading to some rumors, and cannot be ignored.

“The reality is that we live in a tension. After more than a year of study in 2020-2021, the covenant taskforce concluded that there is no clear, consensus for how to apply the covenant clause. (See final report here.) Some people may place a greater emphasis on our moral teachings, while others may place greater emphasis on our social teachings. Both applications are legitimate, and yet, each is incomplete. Therein lies the expression of our human experience – we are incomplete.

“Because there isn’t a single defined answer, we must dialog like Jesus did. This is why the application of our covenant clause is handled at the local level to allow for this dialog and discussion to provide a deeper understanding of our teachings and expectations.”