St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Oregon.

St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Oregon.

Steve Morgan/Wikimedia Commons  

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Portland tells OPB that any Catholic school that doesn’t abide by Canon Law is in jeopardy of losing its affiliation. 

The all girls school changed its policy on hiring gay employees following the uproar over its decision to withdraw a job offer to a lesbian.

The St. Mary’s Academy board voted for the change Wednesday night. In an email to parents, school president Christina Friedhoff said St. Mary’s is a diverse community that welcomes gay and lesbian students and faculty.

“Any church institution that doesn’t follow Canon Law is in jeopardy of being disassociated with the church. Whether that happens this time, time will tell, but it is a possibility,” David Renshaw, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Portland, told OPB Wednesday.

In a separate statement, Renshaw said the church plans to “continue our conversation with school officials.”

The decision not to hire Lauren Brown for a college counseling position became public Tuesday.

The move was quickly criticized by students, parents and people throughout Portland, including Mayor Charlie Hales and Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle. Boyle is a major donor to the all-girls school his wife attended.

The position offered to Brown has been filled, but the school says it will reach out to her for a possible reconciliation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.