A Catholic private school system has been accused of discriminating against a straight man, who claims they pulled an offer to make him their president over rumours that he is gay.
Regis Catholic Schools group announced on 4 April that Tim Nelson would be its next president, but suddenly retracted the offer three weeks later citing “serious issues”.
Mr Nelson said he was “flabbergasted” by the decision, and claims Regis pulled his job offer based on incorrect assumptions that he is gay.
“The whole thing is based on assumptions, innuendo and speculation,” Mr Nelson told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.
He claimed that he was fired after Regis officials saw his male roommate named in his father’s obituary from over two years ago, and assumed the man was his partner.
“I said, ‘If you think we are intimate or sexually active, you’ve got another thing coming.’ We are not like that at all,” Mr Nelson said.
“The two of us live in community, we share expenses and live a devout Catholic lifestyle and meet daily in a chapel in our home for daily prayers. Some people speculate that just because I live with a man I am automatically gay, and that is not the case at all,” he said.
The school group denied Mr Nelson’s allegations, stating: “Regis Catholic Schools denies that any assumptions, insinuations or speculation played a part in its decision to not hire Mr. Nelson. Furthermore, Regis Catholic Schools categorically denies that sexual orientation was a part in its decision. Mr. Nelson’s speculation is unfounded and untrue.”
They added that the job offer had been retracted because Mr Nelson showed a “lack of candor about his affiliations with religious communities”. Further, they offered that they would hire gay staff as long as they were celibate.
However, Mr Nelson claims that Regis officials had also expressed concerns about a gay interest group he had liked on Facebook.
The incident is similar to that of Carla Hale, who was dismissed from Bishop Watterson High School last month after 19 years of teaching, when officials found out she was gay through her mother’s obituary.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association commended the school for discriminating against Ms Hale, and said it is right to discriminate against gay people’s “immoral behaviour”, adding Hale was engaging in “sexual misconduct”.