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Organist fired for 'living in sin' wins payout

The Local · 28 Jun 2012, 14:52

Published: 28 Jun 2012 14:52 GMT+02:00

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Bernhard Schuth, from Essen in North Rhine-Westphalia, was fired from his job as organist and choirmaster in 1994 after the Catholic parish which employed him discovered he had left his wife and was expecting a child with another partner.

The 53-year-old challenged this through German courts, but did not win until his case reached the ECHR two years ago. The judge said the German justice system had failed to respect his right to a private life.

The German labour courts which rejected his claim had, “not weighed up carefully enough, the rights of the complainant and those of the church employer,” the judge said – rather the courts had just adopted the arguments of the church.

Now the European judge has ordered the German state to pay Schuth €40,000 compensation and €7,600 in expenses.

In a separate case, the Augsburg administrative court told a Catholic parish it could fire the head of a kindergarten for being lesbian – but must wait until she finishes her maternity leave.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

22:37 June 28, 2012 by wood artist
Once again, the Church is all about POWER. Jesus wouldn't have turned these folks out, even if he disapproved of their choices. Of course, the Church no longer really has anything to do with the teachings of Jesus, assuming they once did. It's still all about POWER!

00:39 June 29, 2012 by MrPC
Heck, the major religions might as well shake hands with the scientologists they are so morally bankrupt these days. At least the scientologists are more or less open about the fact that its all about money.
10:39 June 29, 2012 by Floriansamsel
@ wood artist: I fully agree with you and would like to add: MONEY. It's all about power and money. For this reason, the Catholic church should pay these 47,600 Euros, not the German state.
11:40 July 3, 2012 by William Thirteen
i've no love for the popists - but it seems that this is a contractual matter between the employer - which in this case is the local parish - and the organist. Was there a signed agreement that he needed to remain married?
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