ENGLEWOOD, Colo — A teacher at a Catholic school in Englewood was fired because she violated her contract by being in a same-sex relationship, the Archdiocese of Denver said.
"I felt like I went into mourning, losing a community of mine that has been a second family to me," teacher Maggie Barton said.
All Souls Catholic School was home for Barton. She loved teaching her students about technology and media. She was in her sixth year of teaching there when the school decided to let her go.
"It doesn't feel like the faith that I know, like love and acceptance and all of those things," she said.
The Archdiocese of Denver said a Catholic school employee wouldn't be terminated for being attracted to people of the same sex, but all employees are expected to follow the terms of the contract they signed.
According to the church, every teacher in the archdiocese signs a contract, and in that agreement they promise to "personally [exemplify] the characteristics of Catholic living,” which include “refraining from taking any public position or conducting himself or herself in a manner that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
The archdiocese said All Souls Catholic School was made aware that one of their teachers is in a same-sex relationship. The church said Barton violated the terms of her employment agreement. She was fired in late January.
Barton believes someone reported a photo her partner posted on social media.
"I was very hyper-aware of my personal life," Barton said. "I was fearful this might happen because I know, in lack of better terms -- it's OK to be gay, you just can't act gay. That is kind of how it has come across to me."
The Archdiocese of Denver said teachers committing to these requirements at the outset of each school year is intended to protect the Catholic identity of schools.
"It would be unjust for a school to present itself as a Catholic school and not offer a Catholic education," the archdiocese said in a statement.
Barton said she wanted to teach in a Catholic school, but after this, she isn't sure she'll go back to teaching at one.
"When I reflect on my own life, do I embody those values? Yes, I believe that I do. I don't believe being in a same-sex relationship or sexual orientation hinders your ability to do those things," she said.
Barton said she's felt nothing but love and support from people in the All Souls community. Before an interview with 9NEWS, a woman whose child went to the school came up to Barton. The mom let her know she supports her and continues to pray for her.
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