Ruling for an Almeria teacher sacked for marrying divorcee

THE Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of an Almeria ‘religious studies’ teacher dismissed because she had married a German divorcee. Resurreccion Galera Navarro taught ‘religious studies’ at the Ferrera Guardia state school in La Cañada, and at the start of the 2001-2002 term, was asked by the bishop to “quietly” give up her position, where she had been working for seven years.

Religious studies teachers in Spanish state schools are appointed by the Church.

There had never been any complaints against her, but the Catholic community could not conceive that a woman who married a divorced German man at a civil ceremony could teach religion.

The Minister for Education at the time, Pilar del Castillo, heard of the case, but said simply that the bishopric had taken a ‘legal decision’, as well as there being two sentences supporting their decision and an agreement with the Vatican.

An Almeria court ruled in favour of the Church, and so did the Andalucian Supreme Court of Justice.

However, the Constitutional Court has recognized her right not to be discriminated due to her ‘personal circumstances’ as they do not affect her activity as a teacher or her knowledge on the subjects.

For five years, she and her husband have been running a guesthouse in the Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park, where they live with their five-year-old daughter.

They say they are extremely happy with the sentence, and that although things had gone well for them, she had always missed teaching and felt very hurt by the attitude shown towards her.

She is still in touch with some of her former pupils, but says she is still not sure whether she is ready to return to teaching and also doubts whether she would be asked by the Bishopric to do so.

By Jennifer Leighfield

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