As The New York Times reported, Al Fischer and Charlie Robin celebrated their 20th anniversary as a couple with a romantic ceremony at Central Park's Bethesda Fountain on March 9, 2012, followed by tickets to see Broadway's "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert".
The Missouri-based Fischer, was fired on February 17, 2012, from St. Ann Catholic School in north St. Louis county, where he'd worked for four years, after a representative of the St. Louis Archdiocese was made aware of "[Fischer's] plan to unite in marriage with an individual of the same sex," according to St. Ann's pastor. "With full respect of this individual's basic human dignity, this same-sex union opposes Roman Catholic teaching as it cannot realize the full potential a marital relationship is meant to express," Rev. Bill Kempf is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
The St. Louis Archdiocese echoed those sentiments in a statement, saying it supports the school's action "as it is in full compliance with the Christian Witness Statement signed by every educator in the Catholic school system," according to the AP.
Al Fischer, a gay Catholic school music teacher who was fired after revealing plans to wed his male partner, Charlie Robin, tied the knot in New York on March 9, 2012. Charlie Robin is Executive Director at Edison Theatre, Washington University. The marriage had been in the works since the year before, March 9, the couple's 19th anniversary, when Mr. Robin proposed. "He got down on one knee, put the show on pause and said, "'Just to make it official, will you marry me?'" Mr. Fischer said.
Once news of his dismissal hit the media, Fischer -- who said he was always open about his relationship at work -- was terminated from a second, part-time job as music director for St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Church, where he and Robin had worshiped for more than six years, because his pending nuptials had become "too public of an issue," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Still, Fischer, who told the Times he'd accepted a new job at a secular private school, spoke up in defense of the people that fired him. “These are good people in a tough situation, having to toe a particular line," he was quoted as saying. "If they supported me they’d be making a statement against the tenets of the church. They signed the same witness statement that I did.”
Many parents have expressed their dismay at Fischer’s firing, noting that he was popular with students and had done impressive work during his time as music teacher at St. Ann Catholic School.
The marriage had been in the works since the year before, March 9, the couple’s 19th anniversary, when Mr. Robin interrupted their television viewing to propose. “He got down on one knee, put the show on pause and said, ‘Just to make it official, will you marry me?’” Mr. Fischer said.
Missouri didn't recognize marriage between partners of the same sex, so the couple considered marrying in neighboring Iowa, which did, but then decided instead on a weekend in New York. They asked a neighbor, a Presbyterian minister, to fly east with them to perform the ceremony.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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