Universal Life Church Case Law
Phone: (614) 715-9048 Fax: (614) 715-9049
Email: info@ulccaselaw.com
ULC Case Law
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington, D.C. 20006


Religious Teacher Alleges Termination Due to Same-Sex Marriage

June 17th, 2021

An appeal was recently filed with the Indiana Court of Appeals after a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The judge was assigned the case after the Indiana Supreme Court voted 2-2 on a request to hear the case. The Chief Justice in the case abstained. The split decision, however, led a special judge to issue a decision in the case.

How the Lawsuit Arose

The lawsuit in question alleges that the Archdiocese illegally interfered with a teacher’s contract and employment at Cathedral High School. The man who initiated the lawsuit argues that he was offered a new contract in 2019 and then had the contract terminated later that year due to the man’s same-sex marriage. The man who initiated the lawsuit was a teacher at Cathedral High School for 12 years and had taught foreign language and social studies. The man said that the archdiocese put pressure on the school to terminate his position. The man then settled with the school regarding his employment discrimination claim and initiated a lawsuit against the archdiocese.

The school at first refused to fire the teacher, so the Archdiocese tried stipping the school of its Catholic status. The school, however, appealed the decision. A decision in this matter is still pending.

The Archdiocese of Indianapolis later responded with a statement clarifying its position. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis clarified that all of its teachers, school leaders, and guidance counselors are expected to adhere to the Church’s teaching in how they live their lives. The Archdiocese also noted that religious organizations may define what conduct is not acceptable and contrary to the teachings of its religion, school leaders, guidance counselors, and other religious teachers.

 The Court’s Decision

The trial court first ruled that the lawsuit against the archdiocese could proceed. The Indiana Supreme Court, however, later sent the case back down and permitted the trial court to reconsider the case. The archdiocese then attempted to have the original judge removed from the case on the ground of misconduct. The judge later recused himself and cited family, health, and other personal issues.

The Future of the Case

The case will now proceed to the Indiana Court of Appeals to decide about the outcome of the teacher’s appeal. The man is one of three former workers who allege that they have been terminated from Catholic high schools in the Indianapolis area due to same-sex marriages. One woman was suspended from her position as a guidance counselor at Roncalli High School in 2018 and later terminated from her position. Another female worker was also fired due to her same-sex marriage. Both have also initiated legal action against the Archdiocese and their cases are pending in federal court.

The Goal of the Universal Life Church’s Blog
The Universal Life Church’s blog focuses on documenting the most noteworthy cases involving LGBTQ+ rights. While several advancements for same-sex rights including the Obergefell decision have occurred in recent years, there have also been various setbacks including the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision.

Leave a Reply