Apparently, word hasn’t quite filtered down from The Advocate’s Man of the Year that firing teachers for wanting to get married isn’t exactly nonjudgmental. In the latest episode, Brian Panetta, the band director at Sandusky Central Catholic School in Ohio, was canned after getting engaged to his boyfriend at Christmas.
Panetta often attended school events with his now fiancé, Nathan David, so the school was well aware that he is gay. Recognizing that his engagement would violate the terms of his contract, Panetta did the honorable thing and approached the school to see if he should just quietly resigned. In returned, he received a letter of termination.
“I knew if we ever wanted to get married, it would limit my time teaching at the school I love,” Panetta told the Sandusky Register. “When I met with the diocese, they basically told me my engagement is a public statement of my support for equality for gay marriage, which the Catholic Church does not support.”
The school and the Diocese of Toledo eventually agreed to let Panetta resign instead of having a black termination mark on his record. Panetta was also able to distribute a letter to the school that announced both his resignation and his engagement.
In his four and a half years as band director, Panetta oversaw the growth of the band from 18 members to about 50. Of course, doing a good job is no barrier to being fired if you’re a gay teacher in a Catholic school. Just look at the cases of Mark Zmuda, Carla Hale, Michael Griffin, Ken Bencomo, and Tippi McCullough. All were fired for violating Church teaching.
Funny how the Church has not been quite so zealous when it comes to pedophile priests.
Photo credit: BrianPanetta.com