ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — An LGBTQ+ teacher claims she was terminated at the direction of the Archdiocese of Denver because of her sexual orientation.
Maggie Barton has been a teacher for nearly a decade.
“I just absolutely fell in love with it,” Barton said. “I was like, ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing.’”
For the past six years, Barton taught technology at All Souls Catholic School in Englewood, where she said she was just let go because of her sexual orientation.
“It’s discrimination. There’s no other word for it. To be terminated from a position because of my sexual orientation, that’s discrimination,” Barton said.
The Archdiocese of Denver said it was made aware that Barton was in a same-sex relationship.
In a statement released to FOX31, the Archdiocese of Denver said, “The school found it necessary to conclude the teacher’s employment because she did not honor the commitments she agreed to in her contract with the school. Every Catholic school teacher in the Archdiocese of Denver, as a minister of the Church, signs a contract at the outset of each school year, and in that agreement, they pledge to ‘personally [exemplify] the characteristics of Catholic living,’ which includes ‘refraining from taking any public position or conducting himself or herself in a manner that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.'”
Pope critical of criticizing homosexuality
Growing up in the Catholic faith, Barton said she’s always embodied their values.
“I chose to work in a Catholic school because that’s what I know, that’s what I love, that’s what’s familiar to me and I wanted to give students the same experience that I had,” Barton said. “Just because of my sexual orientation, that shouldn’t have to change that.”
Pope Francis made headlines after recently criticizing laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all children just as they are and calling on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.
“It’s hard for me to understand how who I choose to love and being in a loving, happy relationship can affect my ability to be a good teacher,” Barton said.
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She said the All Souls community has been nothing but supportive.
“I sought out a school like All Souls because that idea of community and love that you get in a school like that is like family,” Barton said. “It’s like a second family to me.”
Supporters of Barton started a GoFundMe account to help her for the time being.
While the future is unclear, Barton said she is taking everything one step at a time.
“First, it was mourning the loss of a community and second family that I’m still working through,” Barton said. “The next step was learning how to use my resources and voice to shed light on something that needs to change.”
Below is the full statement released by the Archdiocese of Denver:
A recently publicized account of what led to the termination of the employment of a school teacher at All Souls Catholic Parish is not accurate and needs to be corrected. The school found it necessary to conclude the teacher’s employment because she did not honor the commitments she agreed to in her contract with the school. Every Catholic school teacher in the Archdiocese of Denver, as a minister of the Church, signs a contract at the outset of each school year, and in that agreement they pledge to “personally [exemplify] the characteristics of Catholic living,” which includes, “refraining from taking any public position or conducting himself or herself in a manner that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
In this case, the school was made aware that one of their teachers is in a same-sex relationship, and after discussing this with the teacher, learned that she intends to persist in violating the standards she previously agreed to uphold. An employee who violates any of the terms of their employment agreement knows from the outset of their work that they can’t remain employed at the school.
That a Catholic school employee experiences same-sex attraction in itself is not a cause for termination. However, all Catholic school employees in the Archdiocese of Denver are expected to abide by the terms of the agreement they signed and commitments they make, including the duties that are quoted above.
In addition, while not every family may choose Catholic schools for the same reason, the fact is that many families do send their children to our schools expecting their children to receive an education that conforms to Catholic beliefs. This written disclosure of the expectations, and teachers signing and committing to those requirements at the outset of each school year, is intended to protect the Catholic identity of our schools. It is a promise to our parents that their children will receive an authentic and fully Catholic education. It would be unjust for a school to present itself as a Catholic school and not offer a Catholic education.
We recognize the current popular culture and some in our society may not hold the same views as we do, but as Catholic institutions, our schools retain their right to ensure that its ministers, which includes our teachers, carry out a faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Catholic teaching on sexual identity, marriage, family, and parenting are inseparable from the way we choose to live and interact. These teachings allow us to fully comprehend how to love God and neighbor. We believe that sexual expression contributes to human flourishing as it is integrated with a view toward its natural ends: faithful, covenantal love between a man and a woman, and a self-gift ordered toward procreation and joyful unity between spouses. Someone persisting in aArchdiocese of Denver
lifestyle contrary to these views will find it difficult to teach them to our students.