Group Gathers To Voice Support For Terminated Gay Teacher

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UPDATED: Saturday April 20, 2013 7:18 PM

About 100 people showed up at a Clintonville theater on Saturday afternoon to show their support for a gay teacher recently fired by Bishop Watterson High School.

Carla Hale's termination letter stated her relationship with another woman violates the moral laws of the Catholic Church. Bishop Watterson is administered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Students, alumni and even some staff members showed up at Studio 35 to share their opinions about Hale being fired and to discuss strategies toward having her reinstated.

Organizers said a smaller venue was originally planned for the meeting, but their social media campaign suggested they needed a bigger space.

"Every hour that we checked the Facebook page, we had more and more attendees and had to change our location to accommodate the number of people that came out in support of today's meeting," Bishop Watterson graduate Anna Klatt said.

Hale has filed a grievance to be reinstated to her teaching position. She did not attend Saturday's gathering.

Her attorney, Tom Tootle, released a statement thanking all of her supporters. Tootle said he was cautiously optimistic about Hale's chances of getting her job back.

"What makes this case unique is there's a municipal ordinance here in the city of Columbus that makes it unlawful for an employer, including a religious institution, to terminate someone on the basis of their sexual orientation. The question is does that apply. Is there an exception for religious institutions?" Tootle said.

Supporters were circulating a petition in support of reinstating Hale. A national LGBT organization, The Human Rights Campaign, was also lending support to her cause.

Bishop Watterson graduate Will Klatt said he hoped that the school would help Hale.

"We really believe that Watterson is not the problem, but we do believe that Watterson needs to be a part of the solution," Klatt said.

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