Here is a piece in the National Catholic Register.
Columbus Diocese Takes Heat for Firing Lesbian Teacher
The lawyer for the fired gym teacher has filed an anti-discrimination complaint with the city’s Community Relations Commission, and might also file a lawsuit.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Bishop Frederick Campbell and other school officials in the Diocese of Columbus could face criminal charges under the city of Columbus’ anti-discrimination laws for upholding the Church’s moral teachings on sexuality by firing a lesbian gym teacher.
The diocese has come under fire for terminating the contract of Carla Hale, 57, a physical education teacher employed for 19 years at Bishop Watterson High School, after learning of Hale’s “spousal relationship” with another woman. The diocese fired Hale after an unnamed Bishop Watterson parent forwarded to diocesan officials a local obituary for Hale’s mother Jeanne Roe, which listed Hale’s lesbian companion Julie as one of her survivors.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, Hale’s attorney, Thomas Tootle, told reporters that he would be filing a complaint with Columbus’ Community Relations Commission arguing the diocese violated the city’s anti-discrimination law by firing Hale over her sexual orientation.
Tootle told the Register that he wants Hale reinstated at her job and might also file a lawsuit.
“There are many things that the Catholic Church considers immoral, but why is this treated any differently than adultery, divorce or birth control?” Tootle said.[He makes the appeal to the average person here. The premise is "everybody does these things... so why is this thing wrong?"] Although he declined to provide evidence of the diocese applying a double standard, he said,“It does seem to be a situation where the Church picks and chooses like they are at the buffet.”
Columbus’ anti-discrimination ordinance criminalizes discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,” and has no exemptions for religious employers. Violators face prosecution for a first-degree misdemeanor, a criminal charge that carries up to six months jail time and a $1,000 fine.
“The Catholic diocese is facing a situation where simply living according to its long-held, very open and very public religious beliefs, could somehow be a crime in the city of Columbus. That’s very disconcerting,” Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told the Register. The Becket Fund is a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that specializes in cases involving religious liberty, but is not representing the Columbus Diocese at this time.
Blomberg said the Columbus anti-discrimination ordinance goes far beyond standard federal and state non-discrimination laws by imposing criminal penalties on employers, especially religious employers who “might require a statement of belief regarding marriage and family that some might find offensive.”[God forbid anyone should ever be offended.]
Blomberg said the law was “unclear” as to whether Bishop Campbell and other diocesan personnel would be liable for jail time or fines.
“It seems likely it would fall on the responsible decision makers,” he said.“But who those would be, in this context, I am not aware.”