An Orlando church recently came under fire for terminating two lesbian women who were in a relationship. Aloma United Methodist Church has been accused of firing them due to the fact that they were in a same-sex relationship. The couple, who worked for a daycare within the church, said they had tried to keep their relationship a secret, however when their employer found out they were let go.
Pastor Govatos of United Methodist proclaimed that the women were not actually fired due to their sexual orientation, but rather because they had “acted on their sexual desires outside of marriage” which is illegal for same-sex couples in the state of Florida. He also told The Orlando Sentinel in an interview that the women were not fired but voluntarily left.
Govatos states that, “It was not about their orientation, but about behavior. We have a behavioral policy- and we’re legally entitled to- that applies to both heterosexual and homosexual people here that requires faithfulness in marriage, and celibacy in singleness.”
According to the women’s attorneys however, the church had no reason to know anything about their relationship outside of the workplace. A settlement was agreed upon, which resulted in the church providing both women with a letter of recommendation, stating they left voluntarily, and agreeing to pay them and their attorneys $28, 476. Church leaders have also promised to meet with leaders in the gay community to discuss these types of situations in greater detail.
This type of incident is not exclusive to Florida. Employment practices matters such as this can happen in any church, which is why it’s vital to have the right Church Insurance Program to financially protect your clients’ religious organization. At Charity First, we understand the risks faced by these clients. For more information about our products and services, please contact us today at (800) 352-2761.