An Appeals Court has ruled that a teacher who was fired for being in a same-sex marriage can sue the Archdiocese.
According to The Associated Press, an Indiana state appeals court ruled Tuesday that a case filed by a teacher who was fired by a Catholic high school in Indianapolis for being in a same-sex marriage can proceed.
The unanimous judgment by an Indiana Court of Appeals panel overturns a Marion County court’s dismissal of Joshua Payne-lawsuit Elliott’s against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Payne-Elliott was a global language and social studies teacher at Cathedral High School for 13 years before being sacked in June 2019 after marrying Layton Payne-Elliott, a Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School teacher, in 2017.
The dismissal came after the archdiocese required that all institutions under its umbrella implement a morality clause prohibiting staff from marrying people of the same gender.
Cathedral fired Joshua, but Brebeuf refused to terminate Layton, prompting the archdiocese to attempt to decertify Brebeuf as a Catholic school, prompting Vatican intervention.
Joshua filed his case in July 2019, accusing the archdiocese of interfering with his contract with Cathedral and claiming that the archdiocese did not have the jurisdiction to fire him because his job contract was with the school, not the church.
According to The Indianapolis Star, the lawsuit was dismissed in May based on various trial court rulings that the appeals panel decided were either wrong or utilized hastily to dismiss the case.
The appeals court reversed the ruling, sending Payne-case Elliott’s back to court, which LGBTQ supporters applauded.
“Joshua Payne-Elliott was only looking for an opportunity to present his case in court.” “The Indiana Court of Appeals today determined that he will have that opportunity,” said Greg Nevins, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, an LGBT rights organization, in a statement Tuesday, calling the decision “great.” See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
In August 2019, the archdiocese requested that the lower court dismiss Payne-complaint, Elliott’s claiming the First Amendment as a defense.
The “Supreme Court has frequently affirmed the constitutional right of Catholic schools to hire instructors who completely support the schools’ Catholic mission,” according to an attorney defending the archdiocese in the lawsuit.
This underlying issue is not addressed in today’s judgement, and we are optimistic that it will be addressed in the future. This is a condensed version of the information.