St. Mary's Academy photo
St. Mary's Academy pulled a job offer from a woman who planned same-sex marriage, and may face a lawsuit.
St. Mary's Academy photo
St. Mary's Academy pulled a job offer from a woman who planned same-sex marriage, and may face a lawsuit.
St. Mary’s Academy in Portland may face a lawsuit filed by a woman whose job offer was withdrawn after she told school officials she planned to marry another woman.

“Like other Catholic schools, St. Mary’s Academy is grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church and asks faculty and staff to support those values,” says a statement from the school. “St. Mary’s understands that others may hold different values, and we respect the right of individuals in society to do so.”

St. Mary’s attempted to resolve the situation with the applicant, who was not named in the statement. But, the school said, “we have been unable to find an amicable resolution.”

The school, sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, says it is part of a faith community that is obligated to follow current Catholic teachings regarding same-sex marriage in its employment practices.

“At St. Mary’s we strive to live out the values of the Gospel while struggling with the complexities of today’s world,” the statement says.

“This is a very challenging time for our school, our staff, our founders the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and our board of directors,” says Christina Friedhoff, St. Mary's Academy president,. “St. Mary’s is known for its diversity, inclusive spirit, progressive education and developing dynamic, women leaders. As a Catholic school, we recognize that in meeting our obligation to honor the current teachings of the Catholic Church related to employment and same sex marriage, we strive to find grace and healing within our community. St. Mary’s remains committed to diversity and social justice and nurtures the Catholic identity, practice, culture and mission on which we were founded.”

Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample has voiced support for the school and the Holy Names Sisters in their effort to uphold teachings of the Catholic Church.

“We expect that given certain reassurances by the federal government in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling making ‘same-sex unions’ the law of the land, our religious liberty would be protected in this case as well as any future cases of this sort,” the archbishop said in a statement.

On a public Facebook page, some St. Mary’s alumnae expressed anger at their school and threatened to withdraw donations.