Dispute at Benet Academy over lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage may not be resolved

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LISLE, Ill. – A prestigious private school’s decision to reverse itself and hire a lacrosse coach – despite the fact she’s in a same-sex marriage – might not be the last word on the issue. 

Last week, parents, students and alumni of Benet Academy protested after school administrators rescinded a job offer to coach Amanda Kammes after she wrote her wife’s name down as an emergency contact. 

“Because she was married to a woman, me as a gay alum myself knew that I had to act,” said Tim Jacklich, a 2016 Benet Academy alum.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Suburban Catholic school changes course, hires gay coach after backlash

The head of the school changed course following the backlash, announcing the school would hire Kammes.

But now a statement from the  St. Procopius Abbey, the church that oversees Benet, there’s “concern about teachers’ lives being in opposition to Catholic teachings.”

Abbot Austin G. Murphy wrote on the school’s website: 

“The matter raises the question of what a Catholic high school should require from those who work with and form its students. In particular, is it necessary that the witness of their public lives not be in opposition to Catholic moral teaching? I believe this requirement is necessary and, therefore am deeply troubled by the school’s decision.”

Jacklich told WGN News the statement was discouraging but not necessarily surprising.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Group protests in defense of gay coach after suburban Catholic school job offer rescinded

“Benet has a long way to go in improving its acceptance of LGBT,” he said.

Current and former students said it’s heartbreaking to see the Catholic church double down on its original decision.

“You have been teaching us that we are each created in an image and likeness of God and yet you are saying we were made the wrong way,” Jacklich said.

It’s unclear if the church could overrule the school’s Board of Directors on the matter. The abbot says it’s a decision he’s praying over. 

“The impact at the end of the day is depriving students of the opportunity to work with an amazing coach,” Jacklich said. “And again, sending the signal to Benet students that they are made the wrong way and that they are unwelcomed in their institution and school.”

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