Catholic teacher fired for same-sex marriage views prays for dialogue
Trish Cameron said this wall hanging is a daily reminder she has a responsibility to challenge injustice. The beads were worn by her brother, who was murdered more than 20 years ago. Cameron said he was active in social justice issues. (MPR Photo/Dan Gunderson)
by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio
June 27, 2012
MOORHEAD, Minn. — Trish Cameron comes from a strong Catholic tradition. She attended Catholic schools in Moorhead for 12 years. She regularly attends Mass.
But after losing her job at a Catholic elementary school for challenging the church's position on same sex-marriage, Cameron, 46, now prays for healthy dialogue on a "closed and painful" topic.
After 11 years teaching fifth graders at St. Joseph's Catholic school in Moorhead, the same-sex marriage issue was on Cameron's mind as she filled out her annual self-evaluation form this spring.
Part of the evaluation asked teachers to rate how well they support the teachings of the church. In the comment box, Cameron wrote, "I do not agree with all church teachings on a personal level, but I do not bring my own opinions into religion classes."
"When he came to talk to my fifth graders this year this was the topic, gay marriage and the Minnesota Marriage Amendment," she recalled. "And it ended with a direct call to 'talk to your parents,' kind of 'tell them how to vote and make sure — this is important for the church.' And I was really troubled by that, I was very uncomfortable with that."
Cameron said she felt a fifth grade classroom was not the appropriate place for a political discussion of the marriage amendment, which would change Minnesota's Constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman. Cameron said she can't remember another instance in 11 years where a bishop expressed political views in the classroom.