Students and alumni of a Catholic high school in Iowa held a rally on Wednesday afternoon to protest a decision by school officials not to hire a gay teacher.
The rally at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines involved a walkout and a demonstration at which a handful of students and alumni spoke, reports The Des Moines Register.
The gay teacher who did not get hired had worked as a substitute at Dowling Catholic High — a school of some 1,430 souls.
In the process of vetting the teaching candidate for a full-time teaching job, school officials learned that he has a boyfriend and is engaged to be married.
“In holding this walkout, our goal is to let our community, administration and diocese know that the decisions of our diocesan and school leaders are not a direct reflection of what the students at Dowling Catholic believe,” Dowling student Grace Mumm said, according to the Register.
“This is not just about someone getting rejected, this is about love. We cannot let this issue slide without voicing that love,” Mumm also declared.
The speakers at the Wednesday afternoon rally discussed how broadminded they believe themselves to be. Many of the participants identified themselves as gay or lesbian.
The rally ended with the protesters holding hands and praying together.
On Tuesday, Des Moines Catholic Schools superintendent Luvern Gubbels sent out a “Dear Parents” letter describing the teacher’s personal life as “at odds with Church teaching.”
“The Catholic faith is central to our mission, and in order to deliver on that mission it is our expectation that staff and teachers support our moral beliefs,” the letter explained.
Des Moines Catholic schools can’t hire teaching candidates who may “preclude support of Church teaching” if such an issue shows up during the “multi-phased hiring process.”
While Wednesday’s protest may mark the first time that anyone has protested in an attempt to convince a Catholic school to hire a gay person, the hazards of firing openly gay employees have beleaguered Catholic schools across America in recent years.
In January 2014, Eastside Catholic High School in the suburbs of Seattle, Wash. saw a great hubbub after a gay vice principal resigned — or was asked to resign — when school officials discovered that he had married his boyfriend. (RELATED: Student Rallies Continue For Catholic High School Principal Fired Over Gay Marriage)
In August 2013, matrimonial bliss turned into an employment nightmare for a gay Catholic high school teacher in the suburban sprawl of Southern California after a local newspaper published photos of his big, gay wedding. (RELATED: Catholic High School Cans Teacher After His Big, Gay Wedding)
In June 2013, a lesbian teacher won a federal anti-discrimination lawsuit she filed after she was sacked by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 2010 because she got pregnant via artificial insemination. A jury awarded the woman over $170,000. (RELATED: Jury Awards $170,000 To Lesbian Catholic School Teacher Sacked After Artificial Insemination)
The gay teacher who was not offered a full-time job at Dowling Catholic no longer works there as a substitute, either.