Musical Director Terminated at NDHS over Same-Sex Marriage

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Last December, John McCecil was given a reference to Notre Dame High School to direct the musical, “Godspell.”

Only a month into working on the play, he received a phone call from School President Kyle Schmitt.

“He said that I was in a same-sex marriage. That goes against the Catholic teaching that marriage is to be only between a man and a woman, and, therefore, I could no longer fulfill the job,” said McCecil.

During the hiring process, no notice was given to McCecil that being married to a man would disqualify him from the position.

This is the second time in five years that McCecil has lost a job due to his marriage status.

“My experience is just that I got married to the man that I love. I believe in the commitment of marriage, in that marriage is a one time deal.”

Since McCecil’s termination, a student at Notre Dame High School has filed a petition on That petition is to protect LGBTQ+ students and staff, and already has over 1,500.

McCecil currently works at Rivermont Presbyterian Church in Hixson as Director of Music and the Arts.

Rivermont’s Pastor, Clay Thomas, expressed sadness for McCecil’s dismissal from Notre Dame.

“I feel like the lack of transparency was one of the worst parts of this. And so, I feel like Notre Dame and other institutions, if you’re planning on discriminating based on somebody’s sexuality, you need to let your students know that; you need to let your employees know that,” said Clay Thomas, Pastor of Rivermont Presbyterian Church.

Despite the difficulty of losing his role at Notre Dame, McCecil expressed his excitement for working on upcoming productions at Rivermont.

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