Onus needs to be on the employees

Father Dennis Crameri said Catholic teachers must uphold the values of their schools regarding marriage.
Father Dennis Crameri said Catholic teachers must uphold the values of their schools regarding marriage.

Same-sex attracted educators on the Border might have to choose between marrying their partner and an uncertain future in the Catholic system or upholding the values of their schools.

Catholic Education Wodonga Canonical Administrator and Wodonga Sacred Heart church priest Dennis Crameri said parents expecteded Catholic schools to impart a specific value system. 

“I think it puts the onus on the employee,” he said.

“If we employ people we explain what our position is regarding the Catholic understanding of faith and the value system.

“If that person wants to work for us we expect them to know and abide by it.

“The onus is on them – if they found they couldn’t abide or didn’t think they were up to it then it’s up to the employee to take initiation and say ‘I can’t uphold it’, and they’d look elsewhere. 

“Like anyone in a workplace if you’re not suited, you go elsewhere.”

Earlier this week, Archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart, told Fairfax Media defiance of the Catholic church’s marriage views would be treated “very seriously” and employees were expected to uphold the faith’s beliefs on marriage.

Under Australia's anti-discrimination laws, churches already enjoy wide-ranging exemptions allowing them to hire and fire on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status and other factors.

Father Crameri said decisions should be made on an individual basis so they were respectful of individuals.

“If you do it locally there are ways of helping people, not a blanket ‘you’re sacked’,” he said.

Independent Education Union Victorian secretary Debra James said the Archbishop’s comments were a “menacing” threat and teachers were entitled to a private life outside of their employment.

“There are certainly already staff in schools who are gay or who are married and divorced or who have children without wedlock,” she said.

“But they are perfectly capable of being professional at work and being mindful of the views of the church.

“People are already handling these conflicting views day in and day out.”