The Archdiocese of Miami is warning employees that they could be fired for any conduct that is “inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church" in the wake of the start of same-sex marriages in Florida.
The letter, from Archbishop Thomas Wenski, told employees that "because of the Church’s particular function in society, certain conduct, inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church, could lead to disciplinary action, including termination, even if it occurs outside the normal working day and outside the strict confines of work performed by the employee for the Archdiocese.”
Wenski’s letter also warned employees that the conduct requirements also extend to the Internet. “Employees should exercise discretion when posting on social media sites, and note that online activity indicative of prohibitive behaviors may subject an employee to disciplinary action or termination," it read.
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Same-sex couples began marrying across the state just after midnight Tuesday, when U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle's ruling that Florida's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional took effect in all 67 counties.
Wenski was critical of the move by the judicial system to overturn the gay marriage ban, telling NBC 6 that “by imposing a new definition of marriage on the people of Florida, the courts are changing what marriage means for everybody.”
The move from Wenski comes as a debate continues in the Catholic Church and the Vatican over the inclusion of same-sex couples. A comment by Pope Francis, who reportedly said “Who am I to judge?” about gay individuals, was seen as a possible sign that the church's position could evolve.