This story gets my award for the most WTF-inducing incident to make its way across the newswire in a long time. And there’s little surprise when you find out it happened in Florida.
Seems that Aloma United Methodist Church in Winter Park, Florida recently fired two women–Jaclyn Pfeiffer and her partner Kelly Bardier–who worked as Pre-K teachers for the church, but Pastor Jim Govatos says it has nothing to do with the church discovering the women are lesbians and involved in a relationship.
Then again, it kinda sorta does, too. WTF?!
So let’s allow the Pastor Govatos to explain the situation in his own inimitable way. He claims:
“First of all, they were not fired, they voluntarily left employment. It was not about their orientation, but about behavior. We have a behavioral policy — and we’re legally entitled to — that applies to both heterosexual and homosexual people here that requires faithfulness in marriage, and celibacy in singleness.”
Really? Well that certainly makes it all much clearer, don’t you agree? They weren’t fired for being gay, they were fired for acting gay in their private life. Gotta tell ya, Pastor, you may have a legal right, as you claim, but that doesn’t make it any less screwed up and bigoted.
And if this whole mixed-up matter wasn’t crazy enough, you should also know that Florida has a law on the books which makes it illegal for same-sex couples to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage. Of course, Florida has yet to permit same-sex marriage at the state level, so that means the LGBT community is supposed to observe a lifetime of celibacy.
Again I have to say, WTF?!
Mary Meeks, an attorney who represents Pfeiffer and Bardier, says the case is a matter of discrimination, plain and simple:
“My clients were never asked and never discussed that they were in a sexual relationship. They were given an ultimatum of stop being gay or you are fired.”
The women have reached a settlement with Aloma United Methodist Church. They will receive letters of recommendation which specify they left their employment voluntarily. Additionally, the church will pay them and their attorneys $28,000. Church leaders also say they will agree to meet with leaders of the gay community in Winter Park.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.