February 3 was one of the most special moments in Jocelyn Morffi’s life. It’s the day she married longtime partner, Natasha Hass, at the Key Largo Lighthouse. Soon after, her employer, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School in Miami, reportedly fired her.
In a social media post, the first-grade teacher revealed the news. “This weekend, I married the love of my life and unfortunately, I was terminated from my job as a result,” Morffi wrote, according to the Miami Herald. “In their eyes, I’m not the right kind of Catholic for my choice in partner.”
Parents received a letter on February 8 about the Cuban-American teacher’s firing, but the note – signed by Principal Carlota E. Morales – didn’t detail why the school let Morffi go. By Friday, about 20 parents arrived at the school and demanded answers. “We were extremely livid,” said parent Cintia Cini to the Herald. “Our only concern was the way she was with our children, the way she taught our children and this woman by far was one of the best teachers out there.”
Cini added that she didn’t know Morffi’s sexual orientation and that it didn’t seem to matter to the other parents. The principal spoke individually with each parent, but still didn’t divulge why the school chose to fire Morffi, who had worked at the school for seven years.
Though Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage ended in 2015, the state doesn’t have a statewide law that keeps employers from discriminating the LGBTQ community. A Miami-Dade County decree protects this community from unfair practices, but religious institutions do not an obligation to follow the ordinance. This is something Archbishop Thomas Wenski reminded school officials in 2015 after Florida lifted its ban on same-sex marriages. The note stated that as employees of the school, they represent the Catholic church and those who do not comply may lose their jobs.