COLUMBUS, Ohio (CBS Cleveland) – A former physical education teacher lost her job because of her relationship with another woman.

The private life of former Bishop Watterson High School educator Carla Hale became public when her female partner was listed as a surviving family member in her mother’s obituary.

Soon after the article was published, a parent anonymously notified the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus about Hale’s sexuality.

A few weeks later, Hale was fired after 19 years of working at the school, according to TheColumbus Dispatch.

Apetition was created on in support of Hale as a teacher, simply requesting: “Reinstate faculty member Carla Hale and apologize for discriminating against her on the basis of sexuality.”

“She was a teacher who cared for her students and treated each one with respect. The diocese, however, did not reciprocate that respect in its treatment of her,” the petition states.

Supporters added, “It’s unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control.”

The petition, which addresses the Diocese of Columbus directly, garnered 54,464 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

Hale told the Dispatch that she was “in awe” of the support she has received thus far.

She added, “It’s amazing that they’ve come together and rallied around this situation.”

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