Michael Griffin, an openly gay teacher at a Catholic high school in Pennsylvania, was terminated from his position on Friday after applying for a marriage license in the state of New Jersey to wed his partner of 12 years. According to local NBC 10 Philadelphia on December 8, Griffin's termination was due to a violation in the terms of his teaching contract.
Griffin's violation is that his planned marriage contradicts the teaching of the Catholic Church according to Fr. James McCloskey, the headmaster at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. In a statement released by McCloskey, he explained Griffin's termination.
"At a meeting in my office yesterday, teacher Michael Griffin made clear that he obtained a license to marry his same sex partner. Unfortunately, this decision contradicts the terms of his teaching contract at our school, which requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their employment."
He went on to explain that Griffin knew about this provision when he took the job but referenced his lifestyle as incompatible "with the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church."
But Griffin, who is an alumnus of the school and had taught Spanish and French there over the past 12 years, was at a "loss for words" when he learned of his termination. Not only has he been open about his sexuality, he explained that the faculty and administration knew of his relationship. It wasn't an issue until he informed them that he and his partner planned on obtaining a marriage license.
Michael Griffin could only describe feelings of hurt and disappointment when he shared the news on his Facebook page which drew tons of support from members of the page which included a job offer from another school. On Saturday, Griffin addressed the outpouring of support in the following statement:
"It is so overwhelming and my heart aches over everything that has happened. Holy Ghost helped form me to be the person that I am today. Even though I am no longer employed there, I wanted to share their mission and philosophy, because I feel like I have tried to make it my life's philosophy as best I can, even now. I am trying to move forward with a peaceful heart and wish nothing but the best to my colleagues and students who mean the world to me."
As the school will always be a part of him, losing the job he loved made him realize that there is still a ways to go when it comes to the Catholic faith and acceptance. But he has gained a love that brings him natural joy and he hopes to land another teaching job that values his teaching skills, and not judge who he is as a person by the love that resides within his heart.