CINCINNATI (AP) — The majority of teachers at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati have signed a new contract specifying that gay lifestyles and other violations could cost them their jobs, the archdiocese’s school superintendent said Monday.
The contract, which also prohibits abortion, artificial insemination and public support for any of those causes, has divided some of the region’s Catholics. The public battle has included a protest march, petitions and about a dozen billboards in opposition.
But school Superintendent Jim Rigg estimates that more than two-thirds of teachers in schools owned and operated by the archdiocese or sponsored by its parishes have signed next year’s contract. Each of the more than 2,200 teachers must sign the document to remain employed.
The remaining one-third of teachers will be offered the contract within a few weeks, Rigg said.
The superintendent says he has heard of only a handful of teachers who have told their principals they won’t sign it.
One teacher from suburban Cincinnati recently said publicly that she was refusing to sign because she believes it would send a message to her gay son that she doesn’t support him.
Rigg said the new contract doesn’t mean teachers have to sever relationships with gay family members, just that they can’t publicly act or speak against the church’s teachings.
“There is no conflict between loving somebody who is homosexual and signing one of our new teacher-minister contracts,” Rigg said,
He also maintained that the contract, which he acknowledged had religious and legal goals, doesn’t place any new expectations on teachers. He says they have always been expected to teach, express and witness the Catholic faith.
The new contract comes after a series of lawsuits and other problems involving educators fired over alleged doctrinal violations in the archdiocese.
A message seeking comment from the Greater Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful, which purchased the billboards opposing the contract, was not immediately returned Monday.