WASHINGTON (AP) — Karen Pence’s return to teaching at a Virginia school that lists “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” as among the disqualifying criteria for employees is drawing criticism from the nation’s largest gay rights advocacy group.
The office of the vice president’s wife said it was “absurd” to attack both her decision to resume teaching art to elementary students as well as the school’s religious doctrine.
Mrs. Pence began in the classroom at Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia on Tuesday and will teach twice a week until May. She has taught for 25 years, including previously at Immanuel Christian, before Vice President Mike Pence, who was a GOP congressman from Indiana, was elected governor.
The school’s employment application lists “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” as among the criteria that violates the job qualifications spelled out for employees.
The Human Rights Campaign tweeted that the “Pences never seem to miss an opportunity to show their public service only extends to some.”
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Pence defended her return to the school where she had taught for a dozen years.
“It’s absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school’s religious beliefs, are under attack,” Kara Brooks said.
The school’s policy says it can refuse permission to an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a student if the conduct within the student’s home is counter to the “biblical lifestyle” the school teaches. Activities listed as counter to that lifestyle includes “homosexual activity or bisexual activity.”
The Huffington Post first reported the school’s policies and published the school’s employment application and admissions policy.