Teacher Fired For Same Sex Marriage Provides 23,000 Signature Petition

Margie Winters taught at a private catholic school in Montgomery County.

Then, until word got out that she was married to another woman.

Monday, her supporters fought back.

They presented the archdiocese with an impressive petition, with over 23,000 signatures.

They want to get it to the archbishop, but the  archdiocese says their anger over the firing is misdirected.

"These are two Catholic women, who have devoted their lives to taking care of people. They're both nurses," explained Margie's father Ed Winters, "they worked in all kinds of homeless shelters and schools."

Ed Winters gets choked up talking about his daughter Margie, her wife, and their support for others.

Now Margie's the one seeing support as several dozen people walked a box carrying a petition of more than 23,000 signatures to the front door of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

They argue that "Margie Winter's firing was unjust and contrary to Catholic values, and that she should be reinstated immediately."

She was fired in June as director of religious education after eight years at Waldron Mercy Academy in Lower Merion Township. The firing came after word leaked the she was married to another woman, something she says school officials knew from day one.

MORE: Lesbian Teacher Fired From Local Catholic School

"It wasn't until the diocese was notified that something changed. So that's really all I can do. You can draw your own conclusions. The school knew," Margie explained.

Waldron Mercy is a private school, not run by the church.

The archdiocese said Monday, "it's wrong for any individual or group to perpetuate the falsehood that the Archbishop interfered with the school's personnel decisions." 

Winters' supporters don't buy it.

"If that's not the case, then why did they allow her to teach for eight years if they weren't pressured by the Archdiocese?" said supporter Anthony Arechavala.

Archbishop Charles Chaput applauded her dismissal. The Archdiocese says "schools describing themselves as Catholic take on the responsibility of teaching and witnessing the Catholic faith in a manner true to Catholic belief.  The petition presented does not change that stance."

READ: Archbishop Says Catholic School Used Common Sense in Firing Gay Teacher

But Winters' supporters say, the stance needs changing.

(Margie winters)

"We ask now for a moratorium on firing any LGBT employee," said Winters.

They're hoping for a moratorium until all sides can be represented in the discussion.

That discussion will clearly take place, when the pope comes to Philadelphia next month.

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