It is an all too familiar story. Kristen Ostendorf has been fired as an English and religion teacher at the Totino-Grace High School in Minnesota. She was fired last month after coming out as a lesbian to her colleagues.
Her termination came a couple of months following the resignation of William Hudson, the former Totino-Grace president. Hudson was forced to resign after admitting to having been involved in a gay relationship.
Ostendorf worked for Totino-Grace for 18 years. The 43-year-old explained to the Minnesota Post that she stood among her 120 colleagues and stated that “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy.” According to Ostendorf, she was tired of being “part of a community where I was required to hide and compromise and deny who I am.”
Ostendorf was called in the next day by administrators and asked to resign. She was not given a specific reason, but said that “as far as I can surmise, the rule I broke was saying out loud that I am in a relationship with a woman.”
She is currently looking for a new job.
After the resignation of Hudson, board co-president Mark Motzel stated that “leading a Catholic school while living in a committed same-sex relationship is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
This has been the consistent stance from various Catholic institutions across the nation. Several have fired lesbian and gay teachers for not conforming to Catholic doctrine. Some have tried to sue over their firings, but none have been particularly successful.
The US Supreme Court ruled not long ago that religious institutions and religiously affiliated institutions like schools could fire people for not conforming to their religious doctrine.