Jonathan Zeng: Ohio music teacher says he was denied job because he’s gay
A music teacher is claiming his job offer at a Cincinnati Christian school was retracted after he admitted that he is gay — and legally, there is nothing he can do.
Jonathan Zeng has accused Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy of discrimination, saying he was offered a job, but school administrators changed their minds after he revealed his sexual orientation.
Zeng told WCPO that he was prepared to accept the job when he was asked to meet with a board member to get final approval. Instead, that administrator asked him about some of his answers regarding religious questions on his application.
“In those answers I talked about Christ’s unconditional love and I talked about how we as followers of Christ, our ultimate goal is to show that love to everyone without judgment,” Zeng told WCPO.
Zeng said the administrator then asked whether he was homosexual. When Zeng asked why he wanted to know, he said the administrator responded that it is school policy “not to employ teachers who are homosexual because of the work with children and the sanctity of marriage.”
Zeng admitted he was gay. Now, he says the offer was revoked. He later wrote a letter to the school:
It saddens me to think that your students’ education is potentially being compromised because of your lack of embrace of true Christian diversity. I was chosen because the hiring committee felt I was the best possible candidate for the position. This opportunity was taken away simply because of how I was created. My sexual orientation has no impact on my teaching abilities or the words that I would say. I am appalled to think that the philosophy of your school would not allow a gay Christian to work with children.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy issued a brief statement explaining that school officials do not comment about matters discussed during candidates’ job interviews or hiring decisions.
Zeng is speaking out, but it looks like it’s a losing battle, legally. Title 7 protects against employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex or nationality. But, according to the Human Rights Campaign, Ohio is one of 30 states where there are no laws preventing employers from hiring or firing someone based on gender identity or sexual orientation.