Some alumnae of St. Louis Catholic school upset over gay teachers' departure

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 | 4:42 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — Some graduates of a suburban St. Louis Catholic school are upset the school asked two female teachers to resign after they were married in New York.

Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro said Cor Jesu Academy officials asked them to quit in late July after the school received a copy of a mortgage application with the couple's names. The all-girls Catholic high school told the couple, who married in New York during the summer, they violated a moral contract faculty members are required to sign as part of employment.

"We understand that, as a Catholic institution, Cor Jesu has an obligation to ensure that its employees serve as Christian role models," Reichert said in a statement. "However, because they do not enforce the witness statement in any other way, this is a blatant case of discrimination."

The school told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a statement that it does not publicly discuss personnel matters.

The couple's departure has prompted some school alumnae to create a private Facebook group, which has more than 2,000 members, to call the school and voice their concerns. It also has led some to declare they will no longer financially support the Catholic school, while encouraging others to do the same.

The school is trying to raise money for a new chapel, gym, student commons and additional parking through its "One Heart, One Spirit, One Vision" campaign.

In Missouri, it is legal to fire a worker based on sexual orientation. Although the Roman Catholic Church says gay people should be treated with compassion, the church also rejects same-sex marriage.

Other gay faculty members at Roman Catholic schools have been fired for their sexual orientation in the U.S.

A gay English teacher in a Los Angeles suburb was terminated last year after a story about his wedding appeared in a southern California newspaper. In Ohio, a teacher was fired from a Catholic high school after the school learned her partner's name was listed in her mother's obituary.

Gambaro and Reichert said in a statement they will "cherish the memories and experiences created with students, athletes, and colleagues over the years."

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