Today's story out of Miami occupies the sweet spot in the Venn diagram comprised of Univision's anti-Catholicism and its strident LGBTQ advocacy, far from the mainstream of the network's viewership. The network pulled off a neat trick- casting aspersions on longstanding religious freedom protections while slyly advocating for the proposed law that would destroy them.
A teacher was fired from the Miami Catholic school where she taught for several years, after revealing on social media that she entered into marriage with her long-time girlfriend. Here's the closing of Univision correspondent Lourdes Del Río's report for Univision's evening newscast, as aired on Monday, February 12, 2018:
LOURDES DEL RIO, UNIVISION CORRESPONDENT: Since 2014, it is legal for same-sex couples to enter into marriage in Miami. However...some considered that what happened at this Miami Catholic school lays bare a controversy that has not yet been completely discussed at a national level.
DAMIAN PARDO, LGBTQ ACTIVIST: It goes to show you that discrimination against the LGBTQ community does exist, and that there are laws that are needed in order to protect these individuals and the community.
LOURDES DEL RIO, UNIVISION CORRESPONDENT: The teacher has hired a legal expert, and it is not known whether or not she will take action against the school. In Miami, Florida, Lourdes Del Río, Univision.
Del Río wastes no time casting the fired teacher as a sympathetic figure, as does anchor Jorge Ramos in framing the story. There is an attempt, from the outset, to suggest that parents are rallying to the teacher's defense. But parent opinion as shown in the report was in favor of upholding the firing, which exposes the dishonest framing of the story. In fact, two of the parents appeared to be in support of the firing- and the one parent opposed seemed to be concerned over continuity rather than any LGBT issues.
The more insidious portion of the report is shown above, when Del Río goes on to suggest that there has been no national conversation about whether or not church-affiliated schools are free to hire whom they please or not.
In fact, there was a national conversation on this very subject matter, instigated at the behest of the Obama Justice Department and ended at the United States Supreme Court when the Court unanimously ruled (in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC) that the ministerial exception to anti-discrimination employment statutes is protected under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. In plain English, church-owned schools are still free to consider individual adherence to church doctrine in making personnel determinations. Such subtleties must have escaped Del Río, whose "national conversation" segue led to an LGBT activist to call for "laws that are needed".
The law not called by its name is ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would place a hard ban on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Versions of this bill have bounced around Congress and the Florida Legislature for years despite having no chance to pass due to concerns over whether religious institutions would be compelled to hire persons -potential representatives of those institutions- that do not comply with fundamental church doctrines...such as, in this instance, the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.
Of course, these nuances were excluded from Univision's report. The Miami-Dade Archdiocese should consider itself lucky that Univision even bothered to run its statement- ultimately a footnote, given the gross bias of the report in favor of same-sex marriage and against continued Constitutional protection of the ministerial exception.
Below is a cited portion of the above-referenced report as aired on Noticiero Univision on Monday, February 12, 2018:
LOURDES DEL RIO, UNIVISION CORRESPONDENT: For grade-school teacher Jocelyn Morffi, getting married to her partner in a beachfront wedding on the Florida Keys was a dream come true. But when their pictures and videos emerged on social media, the dream of marrying her girlfriend turned into a nightmare. The Catholic school in Miami where she'd been working as a first-grade teacher for the past seven years has fired her. Parental reaction was immediate:
MOTHER #1: We're here, trying for her to come back and fulfill her job (in good standing), as she's done throughout the school year:
MOTHER #2: I think that they should've respected the laws, they're a Catholic school, and, well, they've got their rules...
LOURDES DEL RIO: Others preferred to speak off-camera.
FATHER #1: You've also got to think about the child, no? How, now, to explain to them that the teacher that they loved was fired, and how to explain the reasons why, no?