Same-sex marriage? You’re fired, says Australian Catholic Church

Australia’s Catholic church is threatening to fire teachers, nurses and other employees who marry their same-sex partner if gay marriage is legalised.

The Church’s threats come as opponents and supporters of marriage equality stand firm to their view while the countdown to the federal government’s postal vote to decide the issue continues.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, says the church’s 180,000 employees are expected to uphold Church teachings “totally”, and defiance would be treated “very seriously”.

“I would be very emphatic that our schools, our parishes exist to teach a Catholic view of marriage,” he says.

“Any words or actions which work contrary to that would be viewed very seriously.

“Our teachers, our parish employees are expected totally to uphold the Catholic faith and what we believe about marriage. People have to see in words and in example that our teaching of marriage is underlined.”

He also points out that like all other employers, the Church “should be able to ensure its values are upheld by those who choose to work for the organisation.”

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, who is the chairman of the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education adds voice to Hart’s, saying teachers should be careful about undermining their schools’ values if marriage laws are changed.

Parents who send their children to Catholic schools want them educated within a Catholic context, of which marriage is a vital part, Costelloe notes.

Australia’s anti-discrimination laws allow churches to hire and fire on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status and other traits.

Last week, the ‘Yes’ campaign announced Olympic legend Ian Thorpe as the official face of its campaign in favour of changing the Marriage Act.


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