I Am A Gay Christian Who Was Fired Because Of My “Lifestyle Choices” | Believe Out Loud

I Am A Gay Christian Who Was Fired Because Of My “Lifestyle Choices”

My name is Casey Stegall, and I am a 22-year-old full time college student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

The work I poured my heart and soul into over the past fourteen months was ripped away from me in a flash.

I am currently in college to be a Child Life Specialist, and had been working as a child caregiver at the Children’s Home of Lubbock, a Church of Christ nonprofit residential treatment center for at risk children to hone my skills and abilities as I advance in my career.

But on July 10th, I was called into the president’s office, and he told me: “I am uncomfortable with having you on my team because of your lifestyle choices," and I was subsequently fired.

Hearing those words come out of his mouth made my heart sink. God placed it in my heart to help and love children, and that is what I do best—I cared for and loved every child I came into contact with. Now that source of livelihood has been taken from me, and I have been struggling with feelings of hatred, betrayal, and discrimination.

I didn’t even get a chance to defend myself.

My fiancé and I have been together for 3 years, and we have never once showed any display of public affection towards each other. Living in a very conservative town, we knew the risk we were taking as a couple.

When the president found out I was gay, I feel he did whatever he could do to get rid of me. Even the support of my direct supervisor, who joined us for this meeting, could not protect me. “He is the best employee I have ever hired,” she told him. All of this was to no avail.

After this heartbreaking meeting, the president told me that I could use him as a reference for future employment elsewhere, and that he “would council me in the future to keep my lifestyle hidden.” I will not be following his instruction, due to the fact that I don’t want a reference from someone who doesn’t think fondly of me and who openly discriminates. This is who God made me to be, and I will not step back in the closet.

I still can’t believe that in the year 2014, discrimination is still prevalent and affecting so many LGBTQ people across this country.

The word needs to get out there that this is still happening. People need to know that this is hurting so many people who don’t deserve it. Discrimination is wrong, and it needs to stop.

I have spoken to many lawyers around here to take my case, but unfortunately, no one will because of Texas’ Religious Exemption Act, which makes my firing completely legal. I am not here to slander or hurt anyone—I just want the word to get out so people know this is happening.

I know God has a plan and a purpose for my fiancé and I, and I will not deter from him. He will open new doors for me. I know God will be there with us every step of the way.

Discrimination in the workforce needs to end, and I hope you can stand by me in the battle to see an end to it in this country.

I would like to ask for prayers and support for my fiancé and I as I search for a new job. Times are extremely tough, and finding Believe Out Loud has been such a blessing to us. It is wonderful to meet other Christians who share my belief that God placed us on this earth to love and cherish everyone, no matter what background they come from.

Thank you, and God Bless!

#BOLAction: Pledge today to end discrimination against LGBT people.

Photo via flickr user U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

Comments (34)

Casey, you hang in there! The Kingdom of God is not quite realized yet, but you keep forgiving in your heart, and we'll all keep working together until this travesty of justice in America, and everywhere, is righted. God bless you!!

Casey should hang in there is right. As for 'The Kingdom of God' not being quite realized, that is very true.

We should understand --- 1 Cor.4:20 plus Rom.14:17

"The 'Kingdom of God' is not in “word” (that refers to scripture verse), but “power” (that refers to the work of the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God in us)……..….it’s not food and drink but “righteousness” (that basically means doing good works and deeds) and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”.

That helps us realize the simplicity in believing. It simplifies what we should expect from our Christian faith.

And we shouldn't forget ---
Paul, the major NT contributor, expressed his knowledge and understanding in the following way —

1. …our knowledge is partial and incomplete…
2. …we see things imperfectly…
3. All that I know now is partial and incomplete…

So when and how will we know things completely? When and how will we see things perfectly?

The answers will come in time, as we allow the Spirit of God, which makes things happen, to show us more and more.

LGBT acceptance and the meaningful relationships associated with this acceptance are one of these things we are being shown today.

I was denied a job because I married my partner of 14 years - yet I was not "good enough" to get my second interview, which was guaranteed until they read my facebook page. These discriminatory practices need to stop in all churches (mine was a Catholic church).

So sorry to hear this, but know you are not alone. I was a youth pastor at a UMC, also in Texas, and this happened to me. Thankfully there are people and church , like the United Church of Christ, out there fighting to change this. Prayers.

Casey, first of all being gay isn't a life choice; it is who you are . . . period. You hold true to yourself . . . the day is coming, and I hope soon, when people everywhere recognize each of and every one of us is a child of God.

There is a new law in place that makes firing you cause of your sexual preferences illegal.

Many people think that the law passed to protect LGBT from being fired simply for being gay. That is not true. ENDA did not pass Congress due to the actions of one man- House Speaker John Boehner. And it was loaded down with so many exemptions for any religious organization or company that claims its own religious views (i.e. Hobby Lobby) that now LGBT groups are against the bill in its current form. That leaves us with 29 states where gays and lesbians can be fired or denied housing simply because they are gays and lesbians. Even more states have zero protections for people who are transgender.

Casey,
I am sorry for these actions. The love of God seems to have been missed in the message to some. I shall keep you and your family in prayer. Please feel free to reach out directly to me if there is anything I can do to assist.
With love, and faith for all God's Children.
Rev. Todd Hurst
(k.hurst@minister.com)

While I can certainly understand your reactions of "hatred, despair and discrimination," may I take the liberty to urge you to devote your every waking hour to surrounding yourself with a solid field of compassionate, loving energy that you can have available to share with others, no matter the limitations to their understanding of a "safe universe." I say this because, as I see it, your job right now is to move on and help to expand consciousness rather then be trapped by the limitations of others. I am upholding you and your situation in my prayers, envisioning a loving, creative future for both you and your partner.

My dear Brother in Christ, do you really think your former boss is good standing with Christ after this ruse as a false christian? God has a SPECIAL plan for you and your life/lifestyle and God will not let you down. God has a plan bigger, much bigger than this little former project! Hang in... God is going to bless you like God's never blessed you before! God's richest blessings on you and your partner! Pastor George M Melby (Ret.)

Usually, people's criticism of us is not about us - its about them, as is painfully obvious in your case, Casey. You have a wonderful life ahead in nurturing and caring for society's most vulnerable. This is an opportunity for another organization to gain your talents and devotion. I'm sure God is leading you to an even better place!

Dear Casey, Although I know this is disheartening to you, you are a strong young man with a gift. I have a similar job and have to keep my personal life personal because my employers are the same as your past. I continue to do my best work and with the Lords help great things will come to you. I will keep you and your partner in my prayers. I know of both of you but do not know you very well. I can attest that you are of a higher character then most people that I have met in the past and know God will use you in a very great way.

You should take part in a contest for one of the finest blogs on the internet.
I will recommend this website!

I am from Texas - and it pains me to hear that Texas has such discriminatory laws - and worse people! My heart goes out to you. Having a job you love is the best thing you can accomplish - I know - and to have it taken away so crudely is unbelievable. I'm glad I'm in CA. denpb

You are just as God made you. I would recommend though that you not seek work at church based places, unless it is the Episcopal church. They comprehend that being gay is one of the things God gives to some of his children. Stay strong - the work you are training for is vital - you will meet all kinds of young people, some of them will be gay and you can model for them one of the ways that manifests. Best wishes for a wonderful future.

Thank you all for the love and support you have shown. It gives me hope that someday everyone can see that this is wrong. My fiance and I are staying strong in the Lord and will not falter. Again I cannot express how overjoyed I am to have this kind of support, it is absolutely amazing!!!!

Casey, I am so sorry that you have had to suffer due to another's small mind. Your experience is exactly why the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance recently passed. It is not statewide but there are a few good leaders in Texas. Please let us at The Evangelical Network know how we can support you through this difficult time. Feel free to contact us at www.t-e-n.org or eness@theevangelicalnetwork.net.
Ed Ness
Communications Director
The Evangelical Network

Some of most exceptional and caring educators I know are gay! God doesn't make mistakes! We are all children of God we wake to sin and are forgiven by Jesus. Love is a gift and a treasure. Let no one take it away from you! You are in my prayers!

Casey.. I know you personally and have since middle school.. you have always been a good person and I always knew.. but I never let that be my judgment on you as a person because there is so much more you than that and although that is a part of who you are nobody should be judged as a person based on sexual preference. It is unfair and unjust and I hope that all the wrongs about this are made right. You are a great person and have a big heart and that's all that should count when working with children, as well as with the people you work with. I know you loved your job but just remember God has his reasons for everything that happens in our lives.. look to the Lord to guide you and to comfort you as well, and most of all remember to be the bigger and better person and forgive those that hurt you, for they are only human, and ignorance breeds hate.. good luck to you my friend.

Casey, I am sorry to hear this. Most people do not realize that there is no protection in the workplace, unless you have a contract, a union or live in a state that protects sexual preference in the workplace. In "employee at will" states, such as Texas, they do not even need a religious exemption to fire you for an unfair reason or no reason at all. We have a long way to go. I would also recommend that you seek out denominations that are advocating for gay rights, three of which are the Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ and Unity Church. Love and blessings to both you and your partner.

Hello your following what you have decide in your own imagination what truth is You have forsaken the bible truth for your own pride of self and wanting to sin The http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0084/0084_01.asp?Store=True&C=C gay blade

Again, I cannot begin to thank you all for the abundance of support I have received. Thank you so much, and I pray that God blesses each and everyone of you!!!!!

Love,
Casey Stegall

Honey, I don't think badly of you because you are a homosexual. Jesus wouldn't either. One sin is no worse than another. The man that fired you needs to look in his heart and ask for forgiveness. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone..." Shame on him. All you can do is be the best follower of Jesus that you can be, that you know to be. God will judge him. I can't imagine being discriminated against in that way. I can't imagine your pain, your suffering. But God is the god of the impossible. And though you may not be able to see it now, Hod has a plan, a purpose and a will for your life. He knew you before you were in your mothers womb. He knows the numbers of hairs on your head. He loves you. How much does God want to give good thing to you! Your duty is to turn from son and serve him only. He has the rest in his hands. I will be praying for you. I am glad too, that there is a support system behind you. I am glad you found this site. I am glad I found this site.

Honestly, I would say move to a different state, I know that is easier said than done but I don't see Texas changing their set ways for at least another decade or three.

This is just ridiculous, is this what America has come to? Justifying hatred because of some bogus "Christian" belief? Do any of these so called Christians ever stop and think "What you Jesus do?"

Unfortunately, the Church of Christ tradition is of the most conservative Christian traditions in our country.

I am so sorry that this discrimination happened to you. It is not right. At the same time, it's very hard to fight. I recommend a practical approach to this, since you want to work with young children. Move to a state that outlaws discrimination against LGBTQ people so you can work and continue your education there.

Casey: I am the straight sister of a deceased gay man whom I dearly loved. I encourage you to stay strong and true to yourself. God will bless your life - every minute of it! I would encourage you to pursue the Episcopal Church; our church is fully inclusive and a most loving place which reflects God's love for ALL His children. (Indiana is finally moving into more legal protection - slowly but surely.) I would give everything to have my dear brother still alive to know how far the human race has finally come. I will pray for you and your fiancé - that you both will find peace and fulfillment in your lives. God bless you both.

Pederasty, plain and simple.
It is not your right to display lust as normal in front of children. It's called grooming. By displaying lustful behavior as normal, the young boys are being groomed to accept this as normal. Children who are at risk are easy targets. In addition, the 'fiancé' was not an employee and had not been properly vetted/checked out.

So go somewhere you will be appreciated it will be their loss. Good people always find a place.

Hello Casey,
I'm a law student at Marquette University and am taking a course in Law and Sexual Orientation. The topic of my final paper is the use of Title VII's religious exemption to justify sexual orientation discrimination. I would love to interview you for my paper and get your take on the topic. If you are open to the interview, please contact me at candy.reyes@marquette.edu. Thank you.

The topic of my final paper is the use of Title VII's religious exemption to justify sexual orientation discrimination.

There is a new law in place that makes firing you cause of your sexual preferences illegal.

What a terrible situation, I can't believe you went through all of this. Obviously that's not a workplace you want to work in though. Hopefully your future gets brighter because you seem like you deserve it.

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