A teacher at a Catholic school in Miami has been fired after marrying her female partner.
Jocelyn Morffi, a first-grade teacher at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, was fired Thursday, one day after returning from a trip to the Florida Keys to wed Natasha Hass, the Miami Herald reports.
“This weekend I married the love of my life and unfortunately I was terminated from my job as a result,” Morffi posted on social media. “In their eyes I’m not the right kind of Catholic for my choice in partner.”
Morffi was called into the principal’s office Wednesday and ordered to resign, her friend Katerina Reyes-Gutierrez told the Herald. Morffi refused and was fired the next day, without being given a reason, Reyes-Gutierrez said.
It seems clear, though, that her termination was due to the Catholic Church’s policy on same-sex relationships, which the church considers sinful. In the past few years there have been many cases of employees at Catholic institutions being fired after marrying a same-sex partner.
“Every year teachers sign contracts. In the contract are policies, procedures, teaching and the traditions of the Catholic church,” said a statement issued by the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami, according to Miami’s CBS affiliate. “That contract was signed and broken by her. No other decision could be made but to terminate her.”
The school notified parents in a letter, and many of them were outraged. Twenty gathered at the school Friday to demand an explanation for Morffi’s firing, which they did not receive, the Herald reports.
“We were extremely livid,” Cintia Cini, who had a child in Morffi’s class, told the paper. “They treated her like a criminal, they didn’t even let her get her things out of her classroom.” She said many parents hadn’t known Morffi was a lesbian, but they didn’t care. “Our only concern was the way she was with our children, the way she taught our children, and this woman by far was one of the best teachers out there,” Cini said.
Morffi had taught at the school for nearly seven years. She was also a basketball coach and ran #teacjhHope 70x7, a volunteer program that takes students to deliver meals to the homeless in downtown Miami, Reyes-Gutierrez told the Herald. In her social media post, Morffi said the volunteer program would continue.
Most of the comments on her post were supportive, but some said Morffi should have realized she had to abide by Catholic teachings. The Miami-Dade County antidiscrimination law, which covers anti-LGBT discrimination, has an exemption for religious institutions. The Florida state antidiscrimination law is not LGBT-inclusive.