The teacher worked in Columbus, Ohio. Her sexual orientation came to light after her mother's obituary mentioned her female partner. After a complaint from a parent who read the obituary, the diocese fired her, saying she had "violated the school's moral policy".
Could it happen in B.C.?
Shockingly, the answer is 'yes'. Though such treatment is discriminatory, the Catholic employer gets off the hook under a provision in the B.C. Human Rights Code which exempts non-profit groups who exist to serve people on the basis of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation etc (any ground protected under the Code) from complying with human rights laws.
That's how Rape Relief is able to exclude transsexual women. We are a non-profit, we are here to serve women, so we are free to discriminate if we want to, they argued. They won.
So too did the Catholic Church win in a 1983 decision in which they fired a school teacher (heterosexual) because she was living with a partner outside of marriage. The Supreme Court of Canada said that the provision of the Code gave them a licence to discriminate.
The provision of the Code was intended to prevent men from complaining that they can't get services from women's groups, or non native people from complaining that they can't get service from an aboriginal friendship centre, for example. But it is jaw-droppingly wrong that such organizations are entitled to discriminate among the population they exist to serve.
Under the law as it is written, a disability rights group could turn away someone with AIDS; a women's group could exclude women of colour...the list goes on.