ORLANDO – Jaclyn Pfeiffer and Kelly Bardier, the preschool workers who were fired from the Aloma Methodist Early Childhood Learning Center in March for being gay, have reached a settlement with the Aloma United Methodist Church.

Pfeiffer worked at the Aloma ECLC for two years before being terminated on March 19. Pfeiffer said that she was let go after Bardier, her girlfriend, was hired at the school as a substitute teacher and rumors of their relationship began.

While the church has not retracted its discriminatory policy, they did retract Pfeiffer and Bardier’s terminations and provided them with positive letters of reference, but they have no desire to return to work there, according to Mary Meeks, the attorney representing the lesbian couple.

Along with receiving a monetary settlement of close to $30,000, the agreement requires the church’s leadership to engage in sessions with local PFLAG representatives and Reconciling Ministries, a group which advocates for full acceptance of LGBT people in the Methodist church, said Meeks.

Rev. Annette Pendergrass, the district superintendent for the Florida Conference United Methodist Church, wrote a letter to Aloma UMC condemning their actions against Pfeiffer and Bardier.

“I understand your decisions regarding Ms. Pfeiffer and Ms. Bardier were based on your longstanding views and biblical understandings of issues related to sexual behavior,” Pendergrass wrote. “However, The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church states that ‘all persons, regardless of age, gender, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to have their human and civil rights ensured.’”

Additionally, Bishop Kenneth H. Carter will be personally meeting with Pfeiffer and Bardier, as well as sending a letter to all Florida United Methodist Churches to instruct them that discrimination against LGBT people is in violation of the Book of Discipline.

From our media partner Watermark


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