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Gay Teacher Fired After Applying for Marriage License

The community has rallied around fired Holy Ghost Prep teacher Michael Griffin, a Mount Laurel resident.

Michael Griffin, of Mount Laurel, was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, PA after applying for a gay marriage license. Credit: Facebook
Michael Griffin, of Mount Laurel, was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, PA after applying for a gay marriage license. Credit: Facebook
Barely 24 hours after a gay teacher from a Bensalem, PA-based Catholic school for boys was fired for applying for a same-sex marriage license, thousands of people offered support. 

Michael Griffin, a Mount Laurel resident and Holy Ghost Preparatory School alum—who until Friday had worked for 12 years as a French and Spanish teacher at the private school—may not have a job, but he has the support of thousands in the community. 

Following his firing on Friday, Griffin wrote on his Facebook page that he had applied for a marriage license that day in New Jersey.

"After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner," Griffin wrote. "Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School ... I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words."

James McCloskey, the school's president, told the Bucks County Courier Times that the school's policy "requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the Church as a condition of their employment."

Holy Ghost's loss of a teacher could be another district's gain. Bensalem Township School District board member Kevin McKay—along with dozens of other posters—shared his condolences on Griffin's Facebook page.

"I would be happy to take your résumé to Bensalem school district," McKay wrote. "Congratulations on your impending nuptials. You've lost a job, but you've gained a partner in life. I hope you will remember today joyously for what you've gained."

Rand Geiger, who wrote on Facebook that he was a member of Griffin's first Spanish class at Holy Ghost in 2001-2002, said he and a "great many of us" support Griffin.

"I remember thinking 'Mr Griffin's a little timid in his first year here (as any teacher would be), but a really sweet guy,' " Geiger wrote. "You've certainly shed any timidity and have shown a tremendous amount of courage and bravery in being true to yourself and your husband. That's the best lesson you could have taught us students and fellow alumni (no offense to your lesson on past participles)."

Griffin's Facebook post from Friday has gotten more than 550 shares on Facebook, netted dozens of comments, as well as local and national media coverage. Almost instantly, it spiraled into a full-fledged Facebook page Support Mr. Griffin & the HGP Community. The page, which has since been made private, had more than 2,300 members in less than a day of operation, according to Holy Ghost alum Nicholas Covone. 

Covone told Patch that he was "outraged and upset" over Griffin's firing, as are the more than 2,300 other page members.

"This says a lot as the school itself has only about 400 students," Covone said of the volume of support in such a short period of time.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights group, has also come to Griffin's defense, calling on Holy Ghost to "immediately cease discriminatory employment practices," according to a report in the Courier-Post.

Additionally, a Change.org petition has been started calling on the administrators at Holy Ghost to reinstate Griffin. The petition had nearly 1,600 signatures as of Thursday morning. 

Do you think Holy Ghost Preparatory School was justified in firing Michael Griffin? Tell us in the comments.

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