Catholic reporter fired because he disagrees with homosexual “marriage”

From CNA with my emphases:

Catholic reporter fired over comment on same-sex ‘marriage’ campaign

Portland, Maine, Dec 15, 2009 / 09:56 pm (CNA).- A localized media frenzy has ensued after a Catholic reporter was let go from his 19-year position at a Maine newspaper for voicing his opinion against same-sex “marriage” and the campaign to legalize it in Maine.

According to an article by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Larry Grard, a former employee of the Morning Sentinel, was sent a mass email from the pro-gay rights organization, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), following the repeal of the same-sex “marriage” law in Maine during the mid-term elections on Nov. 4.

In the email, Trevor Thomas, spokesman for the HRC, voiced his disappointment with the vote results and allegedly stated that opponents of same-sex ‘marriage’ built their arguments on “lies and hate.”

Thomas told CNA that Grard responded to the mass email from his personal email account and said “who are the venom-spewing ones? Hint: not the Yes on 1 crowd. You hateful people have been spreading nothing but vitriol since this campaign began. Good riddance!”

Although CNA asked Thomas for the original HRC statement that Grard responded to, Thomas did not provide it.

According to Thomas, he forwarded Grard’s email response to reporter’s boss and wrote, “it’s frankly, just not acceptable coming from a news organization the morning after our defeat.” Though Thomas insisted that he did not ask for Grard’s termination, Grard was fired on Nov. 10 and his wife’s bi-weekly cooking column for the paper was canceled.

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network stated that Grard has since apologized. “He had an emotional reaction to this email and sent off a reply and he recognizes that it was a mistake – that it wasn’t professional,” said Tom Bell, president of Grard’s union, the Portland Newspaper Guild.

Bell continued to say that workers for the paper have a union contract that calls for “progressive discipline” which means that if someone makes a mistake, they are given a chance to rectify the situation before drastic action, such as termination, is taken. “The issue here is that we feel the company overreacted,” said Bell.  “For someone like Larry, who’s 58, this is a one-way ticket into poverty.”

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has also taken up Grard’s case and referred him to several pro-bono law firms that handle situations of Catholic workers who are victims of discrimination due to their beliefs.

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20 Responses to Catholic reporter fired because he disagrees with homosexual “marriage”

  1. The Astronomer says:

    The pro-homosexual lobby is militant, determined and financed to the gills. Mark my words, this is only the beginning. Dry martyrdom ring a bell for anyone???

    Gird your loins, Roman Catholics!

  2. Brian Day says:

    Thomas told CNA that Grard responded to the mass email from his personal email account…

    According to Thomas, he forwarded Grard’s email response to reporter’s boss and wrote, “it’s frankly, just not acceptable coming from a news organization the morning after our defeat.”

    What bothers me is that if Mr Grard responded from his personal email account and he did not identify himself as a newspaper employee (although that point is not clear in the article – but it seems unlikely), how did the HRC know who Mr Grard was?
    Even if Mr Grard’s name was recognized, it is a huge stretch to say that his response was “coming from a news organization”.

    I think Mr Grard has a strong wrongful termination suit.

  3. Melody says:

    I’m totally in agreement with Brian. And the termination of his wife just speaks to me of blacklisting. It’s completely ridiculous.

  4. It is ok to be pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage and it is not ok if you even express the slightest disagreement to them.

    Is this how America wishes the world to view her?

  5. Mary Rose says:

    I heard of this story before. Frankly, I’m incensed. There is a definite tinge of fascism with the radical gay movement. I’ve been observing this increasing over the past twenty-plus years.

    First, it was acceptable to say homosexuality was a “lifestyle choice.” Then, it was no longer a “choice” but an “orientation.” Tolerance was first sought, then acceptance – and now, adoration. If they don’t receive that fully, then more of these types of occurrences will be happening.

    It’s bullying on the highest level. It’s one thing to disagree with someone, but to take away their livelihood is a whole other issue. It’s outrageous, especially taking it out on the man’s wife.

  6. bookworm says:

    “who are the venom-spewing ones? Hint: not the Yes on 1 crowd. You hateful people have been spreading nothing but vitriol since this campaign began. Good riddance!”

    While true, I would say that WAS a bit unprofessional, particularly coming from someone who as a reporter is expected to cover BOTH sides of a story objectively (even if that doesn’t always happen in practice). If Grard had left out the “Good riddance!” or the “hateful” tag, or ended his message after “the Yes on 1 crowd,” it would still have made his personal views clear.

    I used to work for a newspaper and I know at least one reporter/editor who was abruptly fired because he lost his temper with someone the publisher didn’t want to offend. However, he had a history of going off on people like this and had been warned about it before.

    Also, the story does not say whether Grard composed the message on company time or used a company computer to do it — he could have done both while still using his PERSONAL e-mail account. That might have been considered a violation of policy as well.

    All that being said… for the paper to fire him AND his wife with NO warning is a gross overreaction and totally inappropriate, especially if he has no history of doing anything like this. At worst he should simply have been reprimanded for responding in an unprofessional manner, which Grard himself admits having done.

  7. bookworm says:

    With my previous post in mind, it MIGHT not be entirely accurate to say that he was fired for “disagreeing with homosexual ‘marriage'”. He was fired for reacting in an unprofessional manner to a newspaper reader.

    As a matter of fact, at one newspaper I worked for, a middle-aged woman who was divorced, had several children and grandchildren AND had lived for 10 years with a lesbian partner (very long story) sat right next to a very “traddie” Catholic man, a convert, with four children (and another on the way when I left). Believe it or not, we all got along just fine! We all knew exactly how each of us stood, and respected that, and did our jobs to the best of our ability. If one of us was sick or having some kind of family crisis, the rest of us would gladly pitch in and cover their beats for them.

    In fact, had something like this happened to the man I referred to, the woman would have been outraged and angry about his being let go and would have stood up for him — even though she personally agreed with the idea of gay marriage.

  8. crnugent says:

    “He was fired for reacting in an unprofessional manner to a newspaper reader.”

    No, he was fired for reacting in an unprofessional manner to spam.

  9. John F. Kennedy says:

    To Brian Day;
    I first heard this story here http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2009/12/09/gay-left-lobby-gets-maine-reporter-fired-over-personal-e-mail and here http://www.downeast.com/media-mutt/2009/december/maine-reporter-sex-marriage

    It states there that “Trevor Thomas, deputy communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, had Googled his name, discovered he was a reporter.” Thats how they found out who he was and that’s how they operated in California after their defeat there. They go after you personally and professionally if they can.

    To bookworm;
    He was NOT covering the story / issue. “Grard hadn’t covered the marriage issue or other gay-rights controversies for the Sentinel. He said that wasn’t because he was opposed to doing so, but “other people grabbed those assignments.” So professional conflict was NOT an issue.

    I think a key point is here, “Grard said he thinks his religious beliefs were a factor in his firing, calling it “anti-Christian bias.” “A lawyer said to me, ‘What if you’d agreed with [the Human Rights Campaign]? Would the company fire you for that? Of course they wouldn’t have,’” he said. The Sentinel and the other MaineToday papers editorialized in favor of same-sex marriage.”

    He was fired for his beliefs and for not agreeing with the paper’s position on the issue.

  10. kbf says:

    I am a moderator of an army forum/website in the UK. Earlier this year a Methodist Chaplain in the Ministry of Defence took exception to something that was written on the site. Instead of going through the complaints procedure and giving us the opportunity to act he contacted friends in a militant gay rights body called Stonewall (who organised a demonstration on the sanctuary of Westminster Cathedral hurling insults and abuse at the late Card Hume during the launch of the revised catechism in 1995) the lobbied a number of the sites advertisers who then withdrew their financial support. After he did this the Chaplain the abused his position within the Ministry of Defence to try and identify, and persecute, serving members of the army involved in the running of the website. Not only that, but he reported one of the site administrators to the police who then persued him for a “hate crime” and he had to accept a formal police caution which will lay on file.

    One of the site admins, when in correspondence with the Chaplain made the point that he ought to “Please consider whether you’d prefer our relationship with the LGBT community (as represented by you) to be based on forced consent or mutual understanding”. The fact is that not everyone has a catholic-centric view of the world and so there will be militants who will take diometrically opposed viewpoints on matters that Catholics hold dear, and this is one such example. The fight is not so much one of winning the debate in the public square, but having the fight stacked against you in the first place. Stonewall didn’t even comply with their own policy with regards what they consider offensive content (and to be fair, it was offensive) before attempting to hit the revenue stream of the site. Their actions were illegal but the site admins had to consider the impact of taking Stonewall to court and the massive PR resources they have. Even if we had won the legal battle for damages, we would have lost the PR war and probably more sponsors with it.

    The newspaper was probably in a smiliar position. They may have had pressure put on them to sack the reporter or face a PR war and an attack on their advertising stream with advertisers nervous of alienating a “pink” demographic.

    Interestingly the Methodist Army Chaplain who triggered the whole course of events left his wife and 2 children to move in with his gay lover leaving then destitute, confused, and very hurt. his Methodist superiors had no issue with his behaviour and the Army was powerless to act on the matter because chaplains are under the authority of their church/congregation except for matters pertaining to the welfare of soldiers where the Army Act applies.

  11. Rich says:

    God bless him.

  12. Rob Cartusciello says:

    According to an article by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Larry Grard, a former employee of the Morning Sentinel, was sent a mass email from the pro-gay rights organization, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), following the repeal of the same-sex “marriage” law in Maine during the mid-term elections on Nov. 4.

    In the email, Trevor Thomas, spokesman for the HRC, voiced his disappointment with the vote results and allegedly stated that opponents of same-sex ‘marriage’ built their arguments on “lies and hate.”

    Although CNA asked Thomas for the original HRC statement that Grard responded to, Thomas did not provide it.

    According to Thomas, he forwarded Grard’s email response to reporter’s boss and wrote, “it’s frankly, just not acceptable coming from a news organization the morning after our defeat.”

    So it is perfectly acceptable to rail against those who voted in favor of the bill the morning after the “defeat”, but unacceptable to speak out against the critique.

    Sounds like viewpoint-based discrimination: I can critique you, but you can’t critique me because you hurt my feelings.

  13. pseudomodo says:

    Ok…I see how this works…

    A long time ago gays were fired from jobs because they were gay. Gays said this was wrong and unfair. They were right. We hung our heads in shame and pledged that nobody would ever again be fired because of something like this.

    Until now…

  14. Serviam1 says:

    As I said regarding The Manhattan Declaration in my post of 25 November…as a Massachusetts resident I think we are at Ground Zero…

    Normally, I am not very shy about witnessing to the Truth “In season and out of season”; however, after seeing and living with the harassment that originates from the left (those aligned with the homosexual movement in particular) in Massachusetts I must pause and consider what is prudent (for my family). I must admit I am a bit gun shy signing this for fear of genuine retribution. This can take the form of “death threats”, physical and psychological harm to self and family, vandalism to home and property, loss of livelihood, etc. In 2005, we attempted get a voter referendum on homosexual “marriage” put on the November 2005 ballot.

    The Massachusetts Coalition for Marriage & Family shattered a 20-year-old record for the most certified signatures ever gathered in support of a proposed ballot question. Then Secretary of State William F. Galvin certified 170,000 signatures from registered voters, nearly twice as many as the number required to get on the ballot. The Massachusetts Legislature promptly derailed process by ignoring and letting the clock run out on it, effectively ignoring 170,000 of their constituents. Harassment has followed…

    One example is the pro-gay marriage website, Knowthyneighbor.org, which posted all 170,000 names of those who signed the petition, as well as their home addresses. The database is searchable by first name, last name, home town, and ZIP code.

    Knowthyneighbor.org has also posted the signers’ political party affiliation and other data such as home sale prices.

    In a nutshell, this site is a tool used to harass those who backed the ballot question. Names and addresses have been posted since 2005.
    Nearly everyone I know including myself remains on this site. Perhaps it’s badge of honor, but don’t minimize what the opposition is capable of. In Massachusetts, I sometimes wonder if we’re still living in a Constitutional democracy.

  15. JosephMary says:

    Yes, the “hate crimes” thing is ONE sided.

    A friend of mine was forced into early retirement. She did an excellent job and had held her job for years; she worked with a lesbian who was a fallen away Catholic. And they were friends. They had holidays together and everything. One day they were discussing Church teaching and the lesbian said she could never come back to the Catholic Church and my friend said something along the lines of, “Well, you would just have to give up sex”. And that went to HR who started to investigate my friend and she did not know why for the longest time. It ended with her being forced out. To even suggest that someone give up sex or live a moral lifestyle is ‘hate’ you see.

  16. Leonius says:

    This is why Catholics should be competing with the secular businesses with our own Catholic business in all economic sectors.

  17. Jack Hughes says:

    Excellent Idea Leonius , and I will help you to promote your businesss with a Catholic add agency I will open up.

  18. Tantum Ergo says:

    Ah, yes… hatred “under the radar” brought to you by the Party of “Tollerance.” 2010 may well be their Judgment Day. I sure hope so. I’m sick of it!

  19. Hidden One says:

    Alas, you Americans are probably giving some of us Canadians new ideas.

  20. RR says:

    The interesting thing here is that speech is now less protected than sexual behavior and attitudes. I disagree with the firing, but suppose that this employer believed that this person’s attitude was inconsistent with the company’s values.

    Companies generally have the right to terminate someone for egregious off-the-job behavior. However, if someone publicly expresses that same-sex conduct, cross-dressing, the interchangeability of men and women, and so on and a company considers this inconsistent with its values (say, a Christian bookstore or a family counseling firm based on Christian values), it cannot terminate such a person in Maine.

    The playing field is tilted. One can be terminated for expressing outrage over homosexual practices and advocacy, but not for favoring it and promoting it by one’s own conduct and expression.

    It would be one thing if Maine law had a “cease-fire” on this subject for on-the-job activities, but that is not how it works.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this person’s termination is upheld because the court says his expression was too outrageous or some sort of deal. But outrageousness of a pro-homosexual nature would be protected under its sexual orientation discrimination law. No way a similar email, or much more amplified off-the-job speech/conduct, in favor of homosexual conduct and lifestyle would be a legal basis for termination.