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Monday, March 12, 2012

Gay Missouri Man Ousted from Catholic School and Church Weds Partner in New York

Posted By on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM


You might recall the recent plight of Al Fischer, the gay music teacher at St. Ann Catholic School, in Normandy, who was fired when his superiors learned he'd been planning to marry his partner of twenty years in New York -- and then promptly fired from his part-time music director position at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Catholic Church, in Florissant, when word spread over the first termination. (Turns out that when Fischer announced the wedding plans during a staff meeting -- which prompted applause -- he didn't realize that an official from the Archdiocese of St. Louis was in attendance. Presumably, the official was not among those clapping their hands.)

Fischer, 46, who'd worked at the school for four years, was reportedly popular among students and never made his relationship with Charlie Robin, executive director of Washington University's Edison Theatre, a secret.

The firing made the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which broke the news. Over the weekend the wedding was covered by The New York Times, who splashed photos of the Central Park ceremony on the lead page of its metro section with the headline "When Love Conquers All, Even the Loss Of Two Jobs."

Fischer told the Times he bears no ill will toward his former employers. "These are good people in a tough situation, having to toe a particular line," he said.

St. Ann told Fischer they intended to fire him on March 9, the 20th anniversary of his relationship. But when Fischer posted the news on Facebook on Feb. 16, the school fired him the next day. Fischer had signed a witness statement administered by St. Ann, indicating he'd honor Catholic Church teachings.

The Times reported that Fischer has accepted a new job at a secular private school for next fall and received "solid offers" of church work. Both he and Robin say they remain committed to the Catholic Church, though they're looking for a new church to attend.

The Central Park wedding ceremony included a Bible passage from Paul's letter to the Romans. It was about forgiveness.

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