Protests Organized against Teachers’ ‘Morality’ Contracts

Stringent new employment contracts imposed by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati have prompted teachers at two Ohio Catholic schools to organize a union, CNN reported in May. The Southwest Ohio Catholic Educators Association asked the archdiocese for collective bargaining rights, which are officially supported by the Catholic Conference of Ohio. The range of personal choices that now constitute firable offenses under the new contract include having sex outside of marriage, using in vitro fertilization, living a gay “lifestyle,” or even publicly supporting these choices. Some, like Molly Shumate, have already left their teaching positions—in her case, because she felt compelled to choose between her job and her gay son, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, Calif., tried to impose a contract with a morality clause on educators at East Bay Catholic schools in March. After petitions from teachers and parents, Barber clarified in July that he has “no intention of monitoring an individual’s personal life. What one does in one’s private life is between them and God,” according to the National Catholic Reporter. He indicated that there could still be conflicts when an employee’s personal choices become public, but further discussions with teachers and administrators will be factored into the contract for 2015-2016.

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