.- A localized media frenzy has ensued after a Catholic reporter was let go from his 19-year position at a Maine newspaper for voicing his opinion against same-sex âmarriageâ and the campaign to legalize it in Maine.
According to an article by the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Larry Grard, a former employee of the Morning Sentinel, was sent a mass email from the pro-gay rights organization, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), following the repeal of the same-sex âmarriageâ law in Maine during the mid-term elections on Nov. 4.
In the email, Trevor Thomas, spokesman for the HRC, voiced his disappointment with the vote results and allegedly stated that opponents of same-sex 'marriage' built their arguments on âlies and hate.â
Thomas told CNA that Grard responded to the mass email from his personal email account and said âwho are the venom-spewing ones? Hint: not the Yes on 1 crowd. You hateful people have been spreading nothing but vitriol since this campaign began. Good riddance!â
Although CNA asked Thomas for the original HRC statement that Grard responded to, Thomas did not provide it.
According to Thomas, he forwarded Grard's email response to reporter's boss and wrote, âit's frankly, just not acceptable coming from a news organization the morning after our defeat.â Though Thomas insisted that he did not ask for Grard's termination, Grard was fired on Nov. 10 and his wife's bi-weekly cooking column for the paper was canceled.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network stated that Grard has since apologized. âHe had an emotional reaction to this email and sent off a reply and he recognizes that it was a mistake â that it wasn't professional,â said Tom Bell, president of Grard's union, the Portland Newspaper Guild.
Bell continued to say that workers for the paper have a union contract that calls for âprogressive disciplineâ which means that if someone makes a mistake, they are given a chance to rectify the situation before drastic action, such as termination, is taken. âThe issue here is that we feel the company overreacted,â said Bell. âFor someone like Larry, who's 58, this is a one-way ticket into poverty.â
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has also taken up Grard's case and referred him to several pro-bono law firms that handle situations of Catholic workers who are victims of discrimination due to their beliefs.