Scroll To Top

Philly Mayoral Candidate Denounces Lesbian Teacher's Firing

Philly Mayoral Candidate Denounces Lesbian Teacher's Firing


Democratic candidate Jim Kenney says Margie Winters, fired by a Catholic school for being in a same-sex marriage, should get her job back.

Margie Winters, the lesbian teacher who recently lost her job at a Philadelphia-area Catholic school, is getting substantial support not only from parents of her students but from the man who will likely be Philadelphia's next mayor.

Jim Kenney, the Democratic mayoral candidate, called Thursday for Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion to reinstate Winters as director of religious education and outreach, reports Philly newspaper The Inquirer. He also contended her firing was the work of "cowardly men" in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, although archdiocesan officials have denied any involvement.

"If you're a church official and you feel that strongly that this woman and her partner are such a threat to society, stand up and say so," said Kenney, himself a Catholic "who has clashed with the church on LGBT rights issues," The Inquirer notes. In heavily Democratic Philadelphia, he is likely to beat Republican candidate Melissa Murray Bailey in this year's election to succeed term-limited Mayor Michael Nutter.

Winters has been married to Andrea Vettori for her entire eight-year tenure at the elementary school, and the teacher has said school administrators knew of the marriage when hiring her. They advised Winters that she could be open about her personal life with fellow faculty members but to avoid discussing it with students or parents.

Winters said she followed those instructions, but recently some parents became aware of her relationship. One complained to Waldron Mercy administrators, another to the archdiocese. Winters was fired in June. Principal Nell Stetser has declined to discuss the reasons for the dismissal, citing confidentiality of personnel matters, but her communications on the matter have referred to the necessity to adhere to Catholic doctrine -- which opposes same-sex marriage.

The school is run by a Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Mercy, not by the archdiocese, but in addition to Kenney, some parents say they believe the archdiocese pressured the order into firing Winters.

"I think the Catholic Church stood on top of them and said, 'You have an opportunity here to lose your Catholic status,'" Al Perry, who has sent his four children to Waldron Mercy, told The Inquirer. About 200 parents met Wednesday to discuss Winters's firing.

Sister Patricia Vetrano, president of the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community, told the paper the order had consulted with the archdiocese but did not receive instructions to dismiss Winters.

Winters's wife has requested a meeting with Pope Francis when he visits Philadelphia September 26 and 27 for the World Meeting of Families. Vettori wants to tell the pope, "Look at our lives. Judge us by what we do, not by who we love," she told The Inquirer.

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories