DAYTON, Ohio – The Catholic archdiocese in southwest Ohio is proposing a committee made up of teachers who will advise on future contracts that include morality clauses.

The idea has been in the planning stages since last spring amid controversy over teaching contracts forbidding behavior the church regards as wrong in the 19-county Archdiocese of Cincinnati, spokesman Dan Andriacco told the Dayton Daily News.

The contract – which prohibits “homosexual lifestyles,” abortion, artificial insemination and public support for any of those causes – has divided some of the region’s Catholics. The public fight has included a protest march, petitions and about a dozen billboards in opposition. Teachers have formed a union that has approached the archdiocese about collective bargaining.

Andriacco said the 11 members of the advisory committee would be elected by fellow teachers from schools in the archdiocese’s 19 counties. The committee would get teachers’ input “in a structured way,” he said, and have direct access to the archdiocese’s superintendent of schools.

A spokeswoman for the Southwest Ohio Catholic Educators Association, Jennifer Teleha, a former archdiocese teacher, said teachers at two Dayton-area schools have already rejected the idea of an advisory committee. She questioned the impact such a committee could have.

About 93 Catholic schools employing some 2,800 teachers in southwest Ohio are covered by the archdiocese’s “teacher-minister” contracts.

The contract for the 2014-15 school year was drafted after the archdiocese in 2010 fired an unmarried teacher who became pregnant by artificial insemination. A federal court last year ruled in that teacher’s favor, ordering the archdiocese to pay her $171,000.