Alex Blaze

Woman fired for fornication

Filed By Alex Blaze | June 09, 2010 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Florida, fornication, hypocritical motherfuckers, morality, sex

This appeared in one of my Google alerts because of the name of the lawyer, but it's definitely a queer issue. It takes a lot of chutzpah to do this to a worker:

Jarrestta Hamilton said April of 2009 was the happiest month of her life. She was a newlywed and newly pregnant and teaching fourth graders at Southland Christian School. She said it was about that time when she approached by the administration to talk about "maternity leave."

She said when asked, she admitted that the baby was conceived three weeks before the wedding. A week later, she said the school fired her. Attorney Ed Gay is helping Hamilton sue the school, claiming that her termination amounts to discrimination based on her pregnancy and marital status.[...]

MyFoxOrlando obtained a letter sent to Hamilton from the school which asked not to return because of "fornication," sex outside of marriage. It also claims that Hamilton knew about the school's moral stance through the employment application process.

"Just a vague reference to upholding standards and purposes of the school," said Gay. "That's what they're going on as a 'morals' clause."

We know that around 90% of people have sex before marriage in the US, going back decades. Unless that school is doing a great job of only hiring people from that other 10% (who, for all we know, might be having sex outside of marriage anyway), this is just moralizing without anything to back it up. And where have we seen that before?

Since the blockquote I pulled is from a local Fox affiliate, most of the comments are going against this woman. But, really, I have to wonder if these people were actually virgins until their wedding night or if they're a bunch of dudes online who feel it's their right to slut-shame a woman for having sex three weeks before her wedding. Probably the latter.

It'll probably be an uphill battle for her since she there was a morals clause in her contract and Florida is an "at-will" employment state.

Still, if this school is going to try to be consistent in their application of the morals clause, then there won't be more than a couple teachers working there. But that's not the point - they'll just fire the one person they caught because she was honest enough to tell them (instead of lying and saying her kid was a little premature) and pretend like they're being great moral stewards over the community.

At the same time, she's out of a job in a terrible economy when single payer health care failed, a large chunk of America is jobless, and social services are being cut right and left in the name of austerity. But I'm sure the school administrators still feel like they're good Christians.

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Good, maybe the straights will start reconsidering their support for imposed religious mores on institutions once its reach develops beyond that of just screwing people they don't like.

Divorce should be next. Hold them accountable to their beliefs.

I doubt it. Unless they round up and fire everyone who has had sex before marriage, they're never going to create a critical mass.

And people aren't going to care. People kept on talking about how much environmental devastation would be necessary to get people to care about it, but the BP oil spill happened and Congress is more pro-oil than ever. People kept on saying in the 90's that health care would get so bad by now that single-payer would pass, but our country's health care is worse than ever and we can barely get a solution through. People said that the wars would turn unpopular and end if they went on too long or cost too much, but they've cost more than a billion and Afghanistan is now the longest war in US history, and there's no end in site. People said that if civil liberties violations got bad enough people would protest, but we just saw the president admit to ordering torture and Obama's still trying to expand executive power.


These situations don't reach a boiling point and make everyone mad and throw the bums out. Instead, they just get people used to the idea, bit by bit, that they're supposed to submit to an authority and get on with their lives.

If nutty religious groups like this fired more folks under these kinds of circumstances, people might be more willing to question the rationality of theistic beliefs altogether. I don't want government telling a private religious group that they have to hire or keep someone that goes against the group's beliefs; maybe if these beliefs were held up for increasing scrutiny and ridicule, these religious groups would find fewer and fewer people interesting in having anything to do with them. Before the Jarrestta Hamilton's of the world go out and hire a lawyer to sue the idiots, maybe they should look in the mirror and ask themselves why they want to work for them.

Oh this is not a religious problem at all. The problem is she had sex prior to her marriage with her fiancee and not with the school administrator. You always have to evaluate these things from the lust angle. The paperwork and policies are just a screen.

I think this is a good companion story:

Next we'll have women getting pulverized with stones for wearing the color red.

I hadn't seen that. Seriously? Adultery? That can't withstand court scrutiny... I'll shut my mouth before I make more hopeful predictions.

Who with half an intellect of any self-respect would work for a "christian school?" I hate to blame the vicitim, since what occurred was mean and absurd, but "christian schools" are known for being mean and absurd. It's like placing one's finger in a flame and being surprised one got burned! In my opinion, such "schools" should not be accredited, but that's just my opinion.

I don't htink that's victim-blaming at all; it's a valid question.

I have two guesses. One, she may actually believe what the school believes, but, like most Christians, bends the rules for herself and moralizes anyway if/when she finds out that they can be applied to her. I still don't think it's right for her to have lost her job in that case - her beliefs are inconsequential to whether she should have privacy and a right to be judged on her ability to perform her job.

Two, she may be like a few private school teachers I know (I used to work in a private, secular high school in Indiana) and have let her accreditation expire (or moved to another state, or never got it). There are lots of very capable teachers in that situation, and getting reaccredited often seems like more work than it's worth. But that means that they can't get hired in public or Catholic (the Church in many states requires state accreditation) schools. So they get a job in a Protestant or secular school and keep on putting off that accreditation.

Maybe there's another reason, like the public schools in her area might just not be hiring. Or she had a kid at that school and got a discount on tuition as a benefit. Or they pay more than other schools in the area (unlikely) or had smaller class sizes which made the work easier (likely).

The irony of the situation is that she could have avoided it if she'd had an abortion - she need not have told her employers about the pregnancy at all. Of course, doing so would mean that by their standards she would have acted immorally in three ways rather than just one - fornication, murder, and dishonesty. The difference is that they would know nothing about it.

You know I seem to recall somebody once saying, "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone." But for the life of me, I can't remember who that was. Can anyone help out with a reference here?

I think it had something to do with a group of people castigating a woman of "loose morals"...

The small Christian school that Jerame works for has a morality clause that they wanted him to sign. He refused because one of them was "no sex without marriage" and since we can't get married... They let him skip it though when he came out to them since he is a valuable employee.

jami_bantry jami_bantry | June 15, 2010 9:24 PM

Hmmm... "no sex without marriage."

How about no sexual abuse of underage boys by priests?

"Hold them accountable to their beliefs."

Exactly, defrock them and then arrest them and imprison them.

Oh, but that would be sending them to a kinda/sorta "strange monastery." Oooops, don't drop that soap, father. Maybe you prefer this monastery? OK, victim's choice.