New York An unmarried rookie teacher at a Queens parochial school confessed to her principal she was pregnant - and was promptly fired for violating "Catholic morality."
Now 26-year-old Michelle McCusker is suing, saying she was unfairly bounced just a month into her first full-time job.
"I don't understand how a religion that prides itself on forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby," said McCusker in between sobs with her parents by her side.
The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a federal discrimination complaint on the mother-to-be's behalf against the school and Diocese of Brooklyn on Monday, charging McCusker was wrongly removed and that the church's policy unfairly targets women.
"The school fired Ms. McCusker ostensibly for engaging in nonmarital sex but neither the school nor the diocese that runs the school enforces this policy against men," said NYCLU's head of Reproductive Rights Anna Schissel.
Church leaders said McCusker agreed to rules in their teacher personnel handbook, which states "a teacher is required to convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions, demonstrating an acceptance of Gospel values and the Christian tradition."