Here's the situation:
The director of the Teacher's Education Program is a lesbian. It wasn't a surprise; she was director before Benedictine took over the local college (although the local college was Catholic as well -- Ursuline in fact). The university has a policy similar to the military's don't-ask-don't-tell: she was expected to endorse 1) General teaching best practices and 2) Catholic worldview while at work.
The dilemma arose when she and her partner went to Iowa over the summer and get married. Then, they came home and put a wedding announcement in several of the local papers. In the announcement, she stated her place of employment -- this Catholic university -- by name. As a result, this woman lost her job at the university, not for her sexual orientation but for defaming the university's religious reputation and not withholding her employment contract. She is currently procuring a lawyer to sue on discrimination charges.
All I know about the situation is from the newspapers and the President's letter. It appears that both parties did some things incorrectly; I don't want to discuss that. I also don't want to discuss whether homosexuality is right or wrong. What I do want to present to you is a few quotes from the President's letter about the concept of discrimination.
The following quotes are from the President's letter (link to the whole):
When an individual steps outside this teaching (about traditional marriage) and publicly announces that he/she is living a lifestyle in total opposition to what the Catholic Church and one of its universities hold dear, that decision represents a lifestyle choice that he/she is free to make. But if the person holds a position that represents the Catholic Church, there is conflict… For instance, if you wanted to be an officer of an environmental group that premised its mission on the reality of global warming, you would expect that your fellow members would hold you to advocating that doctrine and not give speeches claiming that the phenomenon is a chimera. If you came to believe differently, the responsible thing would be to leave the organization.
[When interviewing] I make a simple statement to the candidate, something to the effect: “XYZ is a Catholic and Benedictine university with a set of beliefs and traditions. No matter your religious background or affiliation, you are expected to respect and honor this tradition and set of beliefs. Can you accept that?”
If a person does not ascribe to the belief system held by the Church, a Catholic institution may not the be appropriate place for that individual to work. The blessing of America provides a patchwork of many kinds of institutions of higher learning. Where one’s belief system may put them outside the orbit of one institution, there is surely another to find a better fit.
So, what do you think? Did she face discrimination when she was fired? Or is it something else? Is the fault with her, either by misunderstanding or willfully breaking the assumptions of her employment? What are the rights of private -- especially private and religious -- institutions when it comes to social causes? What should they be?
PS: This is a complex situation -- just a loving reminder to choose your words carefully and politely! However, I would LOVE to hear views on all sides of this dilemma (Erika, this means you!)