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Federal judge rules against nurse disciplined for comments critical of homosexuality

Catholic World News - June 17, 2013

A US district judge has ruled that a Georgia hospital did not discriminate against a nurse supervisor who was disciplined after she made remarks critical of homosexuality.

In 2009, Amanda Dix, a nurse, told Pamela Hall, a colleague who sometimes held the position of nursing relief supervisor, that she was a lesbian after Hall accused Dix of having an affair with her husband. In 2011, Hall, a Baptist, placed a pamphlet entitled “How Should Christians Respond to ‘Gay’ Marriage?” in Dix’s locker. “Dix was made angry, disgusted, humiliated, and offended by the cover of the pamphlet,” stated Judge Hugh Lawson, who added that Dix did not read the pamphlet after seeing the cover. Hall then sent Dix an e-mail stating that

I don’t want to hurt your feelings but I felt led to leave that for you and I would not be a true friend if I ignore the responsibility that God has left for his children to share the message and hold each other accountable. Even me. I would hope that someone would hold me accountable for when I’m not in the right walk with God. I actually wish that someone would have sat me down long ago and really opened me [sic] eyes to the way I was living. It was not pleasing to God. What feels good and what makes up [sic] happy is not always the right thing to do. Sodomy is a sin, gay people live in sin. It is not about self gratification. I have true joy that can only come from being in God’s grace. We will all die. We will stand before the Lord and he will hold us accountable for lack of witnessing and other sins. I won’t harp on this issue but I will pray for you still and myself because I love you and I want you to be there with me in heaven.

After Dix complained to hospital administration, Hall was temporarily suspended without pay, then placed on probation and relieved of supervisory duties on the grounds that her communications “could be perceived as discriminatory in nature.” Hall filed suit against the hospital.

Judge Lawson, a Clinton appointee, dismissed Hall’s suit, ruling that a reasonable juror could not conclude that the hospital administration “holds a discriminatory animus towards Christians.”

“The Court disagrees with Plaintiff’s contention that Defendants punished her for following a brand of Christianity they found unacceptable,” he ruled. “The evidence simply does not support that proposition.”

Judge Lawson also ruled that because Hall’s communication with Dix “was not intended to be publicly aired and was not meant to be a matter of public concern,” it does not fall under the First Amendment’s free-speech protection.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jun. 17, 2013 9:18 PM ET USA

    "Nonsense" really, can not be used, to shore up either side of an argument... This is not about homosexuality, or about responding or not responding to it... This is a glaring example of unprofessional behavior. In my humble opinion both nurses should have been fired. A hospital is not a stage for a soap opera. I personally have worked with other medical professionals who were homosexuals, but if you cannot keep your personal affairs "at home" you have no business working in a hospital.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Jun. 17, 2013 8:52 PM ET USA

    Some very interesting legal readings on the 1st Amendment. Case in point is to show you that you must be silent if Christian. You cannot even have private correspondence between two people at work. Hall did not announce this info to the world but quietly. The email did it particularly if at work. Bet if the other way around, it would be different.

  • Posted by: bservaes4399 - Jun. 17, 2013 5:55 PM ET USA

    Let me get this straigth: the nurse actions were considered as "potentially discriminatory" so she was disciplined. But the disciplining because of her Christian statement was not discriminatory. Hu?

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