Roncalli board member resigns, voices support for school counselor's same-sex marriage

INDIANAPOLIS -- A Roncalli High School board of directors member has resigned in response to the administration's actions against a guidance counselor who says she's been asked to either resign or "dissolve" her same-sex marriage. 

Shelly Fitzgerald is on paid administrative from Roncalli High School after she says someone sought out her marriage certificate, which shows she's married to another woman, and gave it to school leaders. 

READ | Roncalli counselor speaks out after she says she was asked to resign over same-sex marriage  | Former Roncalli students say counselor same-sex marriage controversy sheds light on school culture

Daniel Parker's says he submitted his resignation letter to Roncalli President Joseph Hollowell on Tuesday.

"I write to you today as a troubled member of the Roncalli family," Parker said in his resignation letter. "As a Roncalli parent, Board Member, and benefactor I have so many mixed emotions since I heard the unfortunate news on Friday night. Because those emotions have ranged from sadness to anger, I have waited to send this note for hope that this unexpected and unnecessary issue would change for the better. Based upon the Roncalli Administration's response yesterday, it appears that it will not."

READ | Community support grows for Roncalli counselor who says she has to choose between her wife and job

Parker also voiced his praise for Fitzgerald, who he says was his children's counselor and "one of the greatest assets at Roncalli High School."

"I can attest to her amazing ability to inspire, guide and help shape the spiritual life of our Roncalli students who have been blessed to have her as a counselor. In every way, Shelly has been a faithful minister of the Church's teachings and she has always preached the message of the Gospel in the meetings with my family."

Roncalli officials defended their actions in a post on their now-deleted Facebook page earlier this week, saying school guidance counselors are expected to be role models and follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

"Catholic schools are ministries of the Catholic Church, and teachers, school guidance counselors and administrators are vital ministers in sharing the mission of the church. They are expected to be role models and are expressly charged with leading students toward Christian maturity and with teaching the Word of God. As role models for students, the personal conduct of every teacher, guidance counselor and administrator and staff member, both at school and away from school, must convey and be supportive of the teachings of the Catholic Church. These teachings include, but are not limited to: honoring the dignity of each human life from conception to natural death, care for God’s creation, and the belief that all persons are called to respect human sexuality and its expression in the Sacrament of Marriage between a man and a woman as a sign of God’s love and fidelity to His Church. A thorough description of Catholic teaching can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."

Parker's resignation addresses those issues saying "love is love, commitment is commitment and marriage is marriage, no matter who opens their heart to those wonderful gifts from God."

"Make no mistake about it; this unfortunate and unnecessary action is a result of the inability of some to accept and embrace the love, commitment, and marriage of LBTGQ members of our community. I don't understand why it is so hard for some to see that this is a gift from God."

READ | Indiana state representative wants to block public funds from Roncalli

He says he and his wife attended a same-sex marriage in South Bend a few weeks ago, calling it a "beautiful celebration of love for two men."

"To me, this is no different than the vows we take as Roman Catholics. This is what I believe, and I know that is in direct conflict with the Administration and the Archdiocese. Therefore, I can no longer serve on the Board of Directors for Roncalli High School," his resignation reads. 

Fitzgerald's attorney, David Page, says he met with an attorney for the Archdiocese in Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon in "an effort to begin a dialogue regarding the issues raised in this case." He calls the meeting the "first step" towards a discussion and possible resolution, although no decision was made. 

 

 

 

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