WATCH: Catholic-Schools Teachers in Hawaii Can Be Fired for Being Gay
BY Michael O'Loughlin
April 01 2014 4:58 PM ET
More than 800 teachers at Catholic schools in Hawaii are being asked to sign contracts that lay out in explicit terms that they can be fired for denying "the teachings or authority of the Church, or whose personal life or conduct is, based on Catholic teaching, immoral."
The contract goes on to define examples of "immoral" conduct, including "homosexual activity" and "same sex unions."
The superintendent of Catholic schools, Michael Rockers, told Hawaii News Now that the Diocese of Honolulu wanted to offer teachers a clear outline for employment.
"We want to tell them what the gospel asks of us and what we ask of the teacher that ministers," he said.
But the director of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission said the contracts will probably be challenged and might not stand up in court.
"The language that's used may run afoul of our state law of protections against discrimination based on marital status and sexual orientation," he said. "In positions that don't require religious training, that don't teach religious curriculum, I think we'd look at those factors in deciding whether a ministerial exemption applies."
The Advocate recently reported on a similar contract controversy in Ohio.
The full contract is available here.
Michael O'Loughlin is The Advocate's religion writer. Follow him on twitter at @mikeoloughlin.