Waymon Hudson

Wedding Announcement Gets Lesbian Fired From Illinois Catholic University

Filed By Waymon Hudson | November 11, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Benedictine University, Catholic church, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ENDA, gay rights, Illinois, Iowa, Laine Tadlock, LGBT rights, marriage, marriage equality, Springfield, wedding

Benedictine University doesn't mind you being gay. Really. As long as you don't tell anyone.

FiredCatholic.jpgAdministrator Laine Tadlock, who was director of the education program at Benedictine, was forced from her job from the Catholic university in Springfield, Illinois after a local paper, The State Journal-Register, published her wedding announcement to her partner Kae Helstrom in Iowa. The university knew she was gay and about her out of state wedding, but apparently took issue with the announcement mentioning she worked at the university:

In a Sept. 30 letter to Tadlock's attorney, Benedictine President William Carroll wrote, "... By publicizing the marriage ceremony in which she participated in Iowa she has significantly disregarded and flouted core religious beliefs which, as a Catholic institution, it is our mission to uphold."

That's right- marrying her partner "flouted" the Catholic institution so much that she couldn't do her job anymore.

I wonder how many other legal weddings of employees disregard the "core religious beliefs" of the church. By this down-the-rabbit-hole logic, there must certainly be no one on staff that is divorced... Or that *gasps* curses or takes the lord's name in vain in a public forum or on campus. That would flout the mission of the university. Right?

This just boils down to plain anti-gay discrimination, even by the schools own admission:

Tadlock met that day with Carroll and Mike Bromberg, dean of academic affairs. Tadlock said Carroll told her he had consulted three Catholic bishops about the situation, including Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Springfield diocese. At least one person, Catholic activist Steve Brady of Petersburg, said he complained to Paprocki. He also wrote and sent e-mails to other church officials condemning Tadlock and Benedictine following the announcement's publication.

benedictine-university_2.gifSo all it took was one anti-gay activist with no connection to the university to activate the Catholic Church's longtime bias against LGBT people and force Tadlock from her job, despite the University's own employee handbook statement on discrimination:

It is the university's policy to provide equal employment opportunity to all persons without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, handicap, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or any basis protected by law.

People wonder why we need things like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) or need protections to simply live our lives in a way equal to our heterosexual counterparts. All it took was one person complaining to get a longtime educator removed from her job for simply celebrating a special (and legal) occasion in her life like any other person would do.

Discrimination doesn't get more plain than that.

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Since they have their anti-discrimination policy written up and since it specifically states sexual orientation as something they won't discriminate against, I believe Ms. Tadlock has a pretty open and shut case in court or before a labor board.

Regan DuCasse | November 12, 2010 9:16 PM

She sure does.
Because 'well, we didn't actually mean that...' won't suffice as a defense in court.