John M. Becker

NC Catholic Diocese Fires Gay Teacher for Marriage Plans

Filed By John M. Becker | January 16, 2015 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Catholic attacks on LGBT rights, Catholic Church, Catholic school, Charlotte, firing, gay marriage, marriage equality, North Carolina, same-sex marriage

lonnie-billard-northcarolina.pngIn the latest salvo in the Catholic hierarchy's unholy crusade against LGBT people, families, and allies, the Catholic Archdiocese of Charlotte, North Carolina has fired a gay teacher because of his decision to marry his partner later this year.

QNotes reports:

Lonnie Billard, a retired drama and English teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School, was told just before the new year that he would no longer be employed as a longterm substitute teacher. Billard, 68, had worked for over a decade as a full-time teacher at Charlotte Catholic, retiring in 2012 and substituting ever since.

Officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte say the decision to terminate Billard's employment was made by officials at Charlotte Catholic High School after he said he intended to marry his partner this May. Billard's announcement was made on Facebook earlier in the fall. Billard disagrees with the diocese and says the decision wasn't made by school administrators.

"This was not a decision by Charlotte Catholic High School," Billard said in an interview with qnotes on Monday. "I had talked with one of the administration officials. He knew [about the announcement]. He didn't care. He said he knew me to be a good teacher and a good person."

More, after the break.

Billard tells QNotes that the trouble started when a few hyper-conservative (read: anti-gay) teachers found out about his announcement. They complained, and the situation escalated to the diocesan level.

In a statement in the diocese's official newspaper, spokesman David Hains says Billard was fired because his impending marriage represents a public act of defiance against Catholic teaching:

"People who work for the Diocese of Charlotte agree that they will not oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church. We cannot and will not employ a substitute teacher who opposes Church teaching."

QNotes points out that this is the same reason the diocese provided in 2012 when it fired Steav Bates-Congdon, a popular church music director, after he married his same-sex spouse.

This is the second time in less than a year that the Diocese of Charlotte is in hot water over LGBT issues: in March 2014, its largest high school hosted a lecture from Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a homophobic nun from Tennessee. Her presentation, which students were forced to attend, was filled with malicious lies about gay people -- for example, that masturbation, pornography, and having divorced parents make you gay, that gays are bad and abusive parents, and that gays have between 500-1,000 sexual partners during their lifetime.

The diocese defended Sr. Laurel, and the backlash against her homophobic presentation from angry students, parents, and alumni was so severe that Bishop Peter Jugis weighed in, slamming those who complained for their "uncharitableness and disrespect."

Watch a report from WCNC-TV on Lonnie Billard's firing:

Image via Facebook.


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