On April 4, Regis announced Nelson, 48, as the president of the local private school system. Nelson was excited at the prospect of returning to his alma mater despite a drastic pay cut, but three weeks later Regis revoked their offer due to “serious issues that have come to the forefront.” Those issues had to do with a man listed in Nelson’s father’s obituary over two years ago.
If this sounds oddly familiar, Carla Hale was fired from an Ohio Catholic school after she was outed in her mother’s obituary. But unlike Hale, Nelson is (allegedly) straight.
And the man, according to Nelson, is his best friend and roommate, but school officials felt that he was listed as a gay partner typically would be — in parentheses behind Nelson’s name in the list of survivors.
Nelson maintains that the man is a close friend of the family, telling the Leader-Telegram, “The two of us live in community, we share expenses and live a devout Catholic lifestyle and meet daily in a chapel in our home for daily prayers.”
‘Cause that doesn’t sound like a gay relationship, but hey, we’re not here to judge. That is (allegedly) up to Regis officials who must have twisted their ankles in jumping to conclusions.
Nelson informed them that he and his man-friend are not “intimate or sexually active,” but conceded that he should have listed his non-sexual life partner among other friends and families. His mother, however, insisted on including him in the obituary and you know how pushy they can get when it comes to a child settling down. Whether that relationship is real or not, she just wants you to find someone nice already.
Anygay, the Catholic school also brought up a gay Facebook group Nelson claims he inadvertently “liked.” But the real reason Nelson was not hired, Regis alleges, was his “lack of candor about his affiliations with religious communities during the interview process”, possibly referring to Nelson’s history as a Franciscan brother and a three-week residency with Pope John Paul II (no homo).
Nelson calls Regis’ accusations a “complete lie” and is now out to clear his name. He’s already filed a discrimination claim against the parochial school system and has spoken with an attorney about pursuing legal action. Sexual orientation is covered in Wisconsin’s workplace discrimination laws, but religious groups are sometimes exempt depending on the institution’s beliefs and principals.
“The whole thing is based on assumptions, innuendo and speculation,” Nelson argued. “Some people speculate that just because I live with a man I am automatically gay, and that is not the case at all.”
Even if it is the case, it shouldn’t matter. Discrimination is discrimination.