Wedding announcement costs gay educator her job
BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporter
Kae Helstrom (left) and Laine Tadlock were married in Iowa on June 12.
A gay educator lost her job at a Catholic university downstate after she posted a wedding announcement for herself and her lesbian partner in the local paper.
Laine Tadlock, 60, says bosses at Benedictine University in Springfield knew she was a lesbian and fired her from her post as director of education programs only after she placed the wedding notice in Springfield's Journal-Register this summer.
The university says keeping her in the role "would not be consistent with the university's mission as a Catholic institution" and that "aspects of her lifestyle are incompatible with fundamental Catholic beliefs."
In a written statement Thursday, Benedictine officials said Tadlock effectively resigned Oct. 27 when she refused to be reassigned as director of accreditation, assessment and institutional effectiveness.
Springfield Bishop John Paprocki was consulted before Tadlock was given the ultimatum to accept the new job or leave, officials said. He said the school "is to be commended for its fidelity to the truth in upholding the faith and morals as taught by the Catholic church."
Tadlock, who has held her post since 2007 and previously worked at public elementary schools, married Kae Helstrom - an adjunct professor who university spokesman Mercy Robb confirmed still teaches at Benedictine - in a ceremony in Iowa on June 12.
"The bishops were concerned about my influence over parochial school teachers," Tadlock said. "Helping students is my passion..."
Tadlock's assistant director, Maureen Lavin, said she resigned her post in solidarity with Tadlock because "what the university did was wrong."