A beloved teacher at a Catholic school has been sacked for getting married to a woman.
Jocelyn Morffi had spent seven years as a first grade primary school teacher at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami, Florida.
The teacher was popular with her class and the wider school community – giving up her spare time to run Teach Hope, a non-profit run alongside school kids that makes sandwiches for the homeless and needy.
But after she married the love of her life, her employment was abruptly terminated.
Mrs Morffi, who tied the knot with her long-time partner Natasha this month, hit out at the school after the sacking.
She said: “This weekend, I married the love of my life and, unfortunately, I was terminated from my job as a result.
“In their eyes, I’m not the right kind of Catholic for my choice of partner.”
The teacher added that she now also has to try and find a new venue for Teach Hope – her movement that feeds the homeless, which she had operated with help from the school.
The school confirmed she was sacked for violating a “morality” clause in her employment contract.
A spokesperson told ABC 10: “She broke the contract she signed when she began teaching at a Catholic school.”
The school also sent a letter home to parents confirming the news.
It said: “Today a difficult and necessary decision has been made regarding Ms Jocelyn Morffi, our first-grade teacher. She is no longer teaching at our school.
“Please know that your child’s education is of the utmost concern for us and throughout the next days and weeks your child’s daily school routine will not be disrupted as Ms Morffi’s replacement will be selected very soon.
“I ask for your continued prayers for Sts. Peter and Paul’s students and faculty as we enter the season of Lent and look forward to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Mrs Morffi has little legal recourse following the public sacking.
There is no federal law in the US protecting LGBT people from discrimination, as Republicans have for decades blocked attempts to make sexual orientation and gender identity characteristics covered by civil rights laws.
Likewise, Florida law does not address discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment.
However, an attorney representing the former teacher says she is considering her next steps.
Many parents have hit out at the decision.
Cynthia Cini, the mother of a student. said: “You know, to be a Catholic, you’re taught to be forgiving. But if you’re gay, forget about it. Love is love.”
And one parent shared a video of their daughter reciting a prayer she was taught by Mrs Morffi.
They wrote: “This is what Jocelyn Morffi taught my daughter in the first grade. Yet catholic school fires her solely bc she got married…to a woman. Such a loss.”
Republicans in Congress continue to block federal anti-discrimination protections to protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and state-level Republicans in many states also take a hardline approach.
Successive Democrat-led bills have sought to bring the law into line with civil rights protections that cover sex and race, but few GOP lawmakers are willing to break ranks on the issue.
Just two Republicans in Congress support the Equality Act, which would introduce federal rights protections.
The law has amassed the support of nearly 200 Democrats in the House and 43 in the Senate.
The only Republicans to declare support are Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is not seeking re-election in 2018, and Virginia’s Rep. Scott Taylor.