Christian man fired after gay rights group contacts his employer to complain

Story from the magazine Down East.


Larry Grard admits he had “a lapse in judgment.” But Grard – who’s been a reporter for thirty-five years, the last eighteen of them at the Morning Sentinel in Waterville – says the e-mail he sent from his personal account to a national gay rights group shouldn’t have been grounds for his dismissal.

Grard was fired by Bill Thompson, editor of the Sentinel and its sister paper the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, shortly after the Nov. 3 election in which Maine voters repealed a same-sex marriage law approved by the Legislature. Grard said he arrived at work the morning after the vote to find an e-mailed press release from the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., that blamed the outcome of the balloting on hatred of gays.

Grard, who said he’d gotten no sleep the night before, used his own e-mail to send a response. “They said the Yes-on-1 people were haters. I’m a Christian. I take offense at that,” he said. “I e-mailed them back and said basically, ‘We’re not the ones doing the hating. You’re the ones doing the hating.’

“I sent the same message in his face he sent in mine.”

Grard thought his response was anonymous, but it turned out to be anything but. One week later, he was summoned to Thompson’s office. He was told that Trevor Thomas, deputy communications director of the Human Rights Campaign, had Googled his name, discovered he was a reporter, and was demanding Grard be fired. According to Grard, Thompson said, “There’s no wiggle room.”

He was immediately dismissed.

[…]The week after Grard was fired, he said, his wife, Lisa, who wrote a biweekly food column for the Sentinel as a freelancer, received an e-mail informing her that her work would no longer be needed.

Comments to this post will be strictly moderated in light of Obama’s signing of the hate crimes bill.

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8 thoughts on “Christian man fired after gay rights group contacts his employer to complain”

  1. This story disturbs me. I’m not a Christian, and I do generally support what is called “gay rights,” but this firing was ridiculous. If the story is true as presented, then it paints Trevor Thomas of the Human Rights Campaign as petty and vindictive, and it paints Grard’s employer, Bill Thompson, as cowardly.


  2. Ironic how those calling for tolerance are (yet again) unwilling to give it. I hope Grard doesn’t just take this lying down…it sounds like a pretty solid case of wrongfull dismissal.


  3. I am Larry Grard, the man who was fired by these ruthless, anti-Christian people. This has put my wife and I in deep trouble. We both appreciate all the kind words and thoughts.


  4. I would probably pursue this legally, if I were Larry Grard. As Andrew said, it seems like a solid case. Even if they can’t make the case that he was wrongfully dismissed, it seems likely that they could make the case for the wife (who had nothing to do with the e-mail). Hopefully they could get enough from a settlement to help with finances for a while. Firing both breadwinners in a family is severe.


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