By Cameron Bishop
A gay teacher in Australia was let go after students saw him at a wedding with his partner.
Craig Campbell began as a substitute teacher at South Coast Baptist College in Perth about three years ago. He had actually attended the school, and still attended the church affiliated with it.
But as a gay man, Campbell knew he had to keep his sexuality private, something that became increasingly difficult after he got a boyfriend. “We went to my aunt’s wedding, and there were three kids from my school in the back of the room.” Campbell told Out in Perth. “It got to this point where I was like, ‘I can’t hide this anymore.’”
He decided to clear the air, and told his department head about his relationship.
“I told them I was in a relationship, and obviously this is something that I believe is fine from both a moral and a theological standpoint.” .
Baptist denominations have varying doctrines regarding homosexuality, but Campbell knew he might not be well received. But he didn’t expect the indecisive response he got about his future at South Coast. After talking to his department head and the chair of the school’s board, he says, “None of them were sure of what the policy would be.”
Campbell never got a direct answer—but he learned from colleagues that he’d be removed from the list of approved substitute teachers. Principal Des Mitchell apologized for the “breakdown in communication,” telling Campbell he should have been informed directly, and certainly before any other teachers found out.
But, Mitchell insisted, “There is an inconsistency with his beliefs on sexuality and the college’s beliefs.”
He also claimed Campbell posed a “suggestive” image on Facebook, though its not clear if it was from the wedding or of something else.
“Young people are naturally inquisitive,” Mitchell said. “The image he posted created interest in his personal life, including his sexuality.”
As Australia grapples with marriage equality, workplace protections are still piecemeal in the country, much as they are in the U.S. In Western Australia, where Campbell lives, religious institutions are exempt from the Equal Opportunity Act of 1984, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.